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Football PIX: Valencia lose again; Milan held

July 02, 2020 11:11 IST
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Images from football matches played in La Liga and Serie A in Spain and Italy on Wednesday.

Athletic Club's Raul Garcia celebrates after scoring against Valencia CF during their Liga match at Estadio Mestalla in Valencia, Spain

IMAGE: Athletic Club's Raul Garcia celebrates after scoring against Valencia CF during their Liga match at Estadio Mestalla in Valencia, Spain. Photograph: Alex Caparros/Getty Images

A change in coach offered Valencia little respite as they lost 2-0 at home to Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Wednesday in caretaker manager Voro's first game back in charge, effectively ending their bid to qualify for the Champions League.

Elsewhere, Villarreal earned a fifth win in six matches by beating Real Betis 2-0 away from home to stay in the hunt for a top-four finish, while Real Valladolid missed a stoppage-time penalty to draw 0-0 at home to Levante.

 

Granada won 2-0 at free-falling Alaves to climb above Valencia into ninth in the standings.

Raul Garcia netted in each half to condemn Valencia to a third successive defeat, scoring in the 13th minute with a strike from close range and smashing home from outside the area early in the second half.

Valencia sacked coach Albert Celades on Monday following defeats by Eibar and Villarreal, calling on loyal club servant Voro to take temporary charge of the team for the fifth time since 2008.

Celades is the second coach owner Peter Lim has sacked this season and the sixth dismissed since 2014, but the Singaporean billionaire was spared the wrath of Valencia's usually vociferous supporters as fans are still banned from entering stadiums in Spain due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The win took Athletic up to seventh in the standings on 48 points while Valencia are 10th on 46, effectively falling out of contention of Champions League qualification as they trail fourth-placed Sevilla by 11 points with five games left.

Villarreal saw off Real Betis with two goals in the first half from Gerard Moreno while Betis had forward Nabil Fekir sent off on the stroke of halftime.

Villarreal stayed in fifth place on 54 points, three behind Sevilla, who occupy the final Champions League berth.

Valladolid missed the opportunity to open up a nine-point gap with the relegation zone after Turkish forward Enes Unal saw a stoppage-time penalty saved by Levante keeper Aitor Fernandez.

Valladolid are 14th on 36 points, one above Alaves who were beaten 2-0 at home to Granada and are hovering six above the relegation zone after four defeats in a row.

Milan rescued by stoppage-time own goal against 10-man SPAL

SPAL's Francesco Vicari reacts in disappointment after scoring an own goal against AC Milan during their Serie A match at Stadio Paolo Mazza in Ferrara, Italy.

IMAGE: SPAL's Francesco Vicari reacts in disappointment after scoring an own goal against AC Milan during their Serie A match at Stadio Paolo Mazza in Ferrara, Italy. Photograph: Chris Ricco/Getty Images

AC Milan were rescued by an extraordinary own goal from Francesco Vicari as they fought back to draw 2-2 against lowly 10-man SPAL on Wednesday after 38-year-old Sergio Floccari scored one of the goals of the season for the hosts.

SPAL, playing the second half with a man less, were on the brink of an unlikely win until Alexis Saelemaekers sent a harmless ball into the area and Vicari, under no pressure, stuck out a leg and diverted it into his own goal.

It was heart-breaking for SPAL after they defied Milan with a courageous rearguard action for the whole second half.

The hosts had stunned Milan by taking a 2-0 lead in half an hour with Floccari getting on the scoresheet with an audacious volley over Gianluigi Donnarumma from 35 metres.

Milan, who brought on 38-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic during the second half following his recovery from a calf muscle injury suffered during the coronavirus stoppage, stayed seventh with 43 points and SPAL one off the bottom on 19.

"There was disappointment," said SPAL coach Luigi Di Biagio.

"It's normal after giving so much and running so much -- it leaves a lot of bitterness in the mouth. We're alive. Let's try to continue because I couldn't ask more of the boys. I'm really proud of what they've done."

SPAL went ahead in the 13th minute thanks to shambolic Milan defending. A corner was launched into the goalmouth and it bounced off three Milan players before falling to Mattia Valoti who turned it into the net.

The second was a masterpiece as Bryan Dabo headed the ball forward in midfield and it bounced to Floccari who spotted Donnarumma off his line and volleyed it over the startled goalkeeper.

Hakan Calhanoglu had the ball in the net for Milan but it was chalked off for offside against Ante Rebic in the build-up.

Just before the break, SPAL midfielder Mirko Valdifiori flew in recklessly on Theo Hernandez and was initially booked but his studs were dangerously high and it was changed to a red card after VAR review.   

Milan, who had 25 shots on goal and 16 corners, pulled one back through Rafael Leao with 11 minutes left before the hapless Vicari came to their rescue.

Inter Milan thump Brescia 6-0

Inter Milan's Ashley Young (centre) celebrates with teammates after scoring their opening goal against Brescia Calcio during their Serie A match at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan, Italy

IMAGE: Inter Milan's Ashley Young (centre) celebrates with teammates after scoring their opening goal against Brescia Calcio during their Serie A match at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan, Italy. Photograph: Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Inter Milan demolished Brescia to secure a sumptuous 6-0 victory in the ongoing Serie A on Wednesday.

Inter Milan displayed a dominant performance throughout the match and all six goals were scored by six different players. From the very beginning, the Antonio Conte-led side played vehemently and opened their account in the fifth minute through Ashley Young.

In the 20th minute, Inter Milan was awarded a penalty and Alexis Sanchez made no mistake to double his side's lead. Just before the conclusion of the first half, Danilo D'Ambrosio netted a goal to bring the scoreline to 3-0.

In the second half as well, Inter Milan were aggressive and kept adding goals to their tally. Roberto Gagliardini, Christian Eriksen and Antonio Candreva scored one goal each in the second half, thwarting Brescia's hopes.

Inter Milan are on the third spot on Serie A table with 64 points, only behind Lazio (68) and Juventus (72).

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