Valencia extend unbeaten run to five in South-East derby win

A trip to the Estadio Martinez Valero has become one of the tougher visits for La Liga sides in recent months, but Valencia imposed themselves on a short trip down the coast to Elche.

Just seven minutes it took for Los Che to gain the lead, or so they thought – their well-worked set-piece was chalked off for offside in the build-up. Much to the disappointment of the coaching staff and Hugo Guillamon. That didn’t phase the visitors however, who played with a keen desire to breach the defence after a turgid 0-0 draw with Getafe last weekend.

Goncalo Guedes is by a distance the sharpest edge to this Valencia side and he cut through around the half-hour mark, shocking himself as much as the fans when he rapped the ball wide of the post.

After the break, he wouldn’t take long to make the difference. This time it wasn’t a feat of technical ability but a bullish effort to get onto the end of a lovely Carlos Soler pass. Inside the six yard box, he somehow managed to ensure the ball went in as he collided with the ground.

Elche weren’t passive by any means and managed to work some space down the flanks, but Tete Morente was unable to beat Giorgi Mamardashvili on either of the two occasions the ball was pulled back to him.

As they did come forward, Valencia salivated over the extra space available. They should have feasted when Uros Racic robbed the ball and set the counter underway, only for too many cooks to spoil the opportunity.

This back and forth continued until the close of the match, without Valencia feeling too threatened by it. Ultimately, it was Johan Mojica’s disgruntlement with that status quo which led to him being sent off for dissent in the 92nd minute.

Elche remain eight points clear of the drop with Cadiz still to play this weekend. Valencia add another clean sheet to their growing collection after four in their last five. More importantly, they continue their unbeaten run over those five, keeping their slim hopes of the top seven alive – four points separate them from Villarreal.

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