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Valencia draw can’t end Neville’s winless run

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Valencia coach Britain's Gary Naville in the dugout. PHOTO/AFP
Valencia coach Britain’s Gary Naville in the dugout. PHOTO/AFP

MADRID, January 17 – Gary Neville’s winless streak as Valencia boss in La Liga stretched to six games as despite Paco Alcacer’s late strike they could only manage 2-2 draw at home to relegation threatened Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

Los Che were heavily favoured to end a two-month run without a league win against a Rayo side that has lost six of their last seven league games – conceding 23 goals in the process.

However, the visitors dominated the opening 45 minutes and were given a deserved lead when Jozabed swept home Adrian Embarba’s cross on the volley.

Neville had opted for Alvaro Negredo over top-scorer Alcacer in attack, and the former Manchester City striker repaid that faith in sensational style when he fired home from just inside the Rayo half to get Valencia back into the game 10 minutes after the break.

Rayo took advantage of some more poor defending from Valencia, though, to retake the lead when Diego Llorente looped shot from Jozabed’s corner left Australian goalkeeper Matt Ryan helpless.

Alcacer replaced Negredo for the final 25 minutes and thought he had scored the equaliser five minutes from time when he was wrongly flagged offside.

However, he wasn’t to be denied his 10th goal of the season moments later when he bundled home Zakaria Bakkali’s cross.

Despite the late drama Valencia remain closer to the relegation zone than the Champions League places, still 16 points behind Villarreal in fourth and eight ahead of Rayo.

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