Football: New coach, same sorry story for Valencia

Valencia's head coach Salvador Gonzalez 'Voro' (right) reacts during the match. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID (REUTERS) - A change in coach offered Valencia little respite as lost 2-0 at home to Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday (July 1) in caretaker manager Voro's first game back in charge, in front of an empty Mestalla stadium.

Raul Garcia netted in either half to condemn Valencia to a third successive defeat, opening the scoring in the 13th minute with a first-time strike from close range, then smashing home from outside the area early in the second half.

Valencia sacked coach Albert Celades on Monday following successive 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 to be 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.

Valencia dropped below Granada, who coasted to a 2-0 win at struggling Alaves to unseat Voro's side and climb to ninth place, also on 46 points.

Alaves, meanwhile, fell to a fourth defeat in a row which left them in 16th on 35 points, hovering six points above the relegation zone.

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