Football: Neville still winless after Valencia held by Getafe

Getafe midfielder Angel Lafita celebrates his goal.
Getafe midfielder Angel Lafita celebrates his goal.PHOTO: EPA

MADRID (REUTERS) - New Valencia coach Gary Neville remains without a La Liga win after his side twice recovered from a goal down to rescue a fortunate 2-2 draw at home to Getafe in an entertaining game on Saturday.

Valencia were held 1-1 at Eibar in Neville's Spanish top-flight debut last weekend and while their latest performance showed promise it also underlined how much work he still has ahead to turn the Singapore-owned club's fortunes around.

Pablo Sarabia put Getafe in front in the 10th minute at the Mestalla and Paco Alcacer levelled for the home side with a cracking volley five minutes later.

The visitors were in front again in the 22nd minute thanks to a fine strike from Angel Lafita before Santi Mina made it 2-2 10 minutes before halftime with his first touch after coming on for the injured Jose Luis Gaya.

Valencia failed to make their superiority count after the break and Getafe had three clear chances to win the game late on as some worrying gaps opened up in the home defence.

Substitute Alvaro Vazquez was denied by a superb last-ditch tackle from fullback Joao Cancelo two minutes from time before in added time Lafita fluffed a volley when unmarked at the back post and then crashed a drive off the top of the crossbar.

"We made things difficult for ourselves because when you allow teams to counter attack it's always a problem," former England defender Neville told a news conference.

"It's a shame because the effort was massive and the players gave their all," added the former Manchester United fullback, who has a contract until the end of the season.

Valencia have 22 points in seventh after 16 matches but can be overtaken if Sevilla avoid defeat at city rivals Real Betis later on Saturday. Getafe are 14th on 16 points.

Atletico Madrid can climb above Barcelona into top spot if they avoid defeat at Malaga on Sunday, when third-placed Real Madrid host neighbours Rayo Vallecano.

Barca, who play in the Club World Cup final against River Plate in Japan on Sunday, and Atletico each have 35 points, with the champions ahead on goal difference, while Real are on 30.

Espanyol, with new coach Constantin Galca making his La Liga debut after taking over on Monday, climbed to 11th with a 1-0 home win over promoted Las Palmas, who remain mired in the relegation places.