Football: Valencia pegged back by late Granada equaliser in La Liga as Europa League hopes fade

Yangel Herrera (left) in action against Dani Parejo during a La Liga match at Los Carmenes stadium in Spain, on July 4, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID (AFP) - Valencia's disappointing end to the season continued on Saturday (July 4), as they conceded an 86th-minute equaliser to draw 2-2 away at Granada in La Liga.

Three goals in seven second-half minutes sparked a thrilling contest at Los Carmenes and Valencia had the better of them, with Manu Vallejo and Goncalo Guedes overturning Carlos Fernandez's penalty for Granada.

But Fede Vico's late free kick found its way through a gap in the Valencia wall to salvage a deserved point for Granada, who stay level on 47 points with their opponents after being promoted only last season.

Valencia are still searching for their first victory since sacking coach Albert Celades on Tuesday.

Voro Gonzalez, in his sixth spell in temporary charge, oversaw defeat on Wednesday by Athletic Bilbao.

One win in seven games since La Liga restarted on June 11 after the coronavirus hiatus has extinguished Valencia's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League. But even making the Europa League next season now looks increasingly unlikely.

They sit ninth, five points adrift of Getafe in sixth, having played a game more. Granada are one place below on goal difference.

The home side took the lead in the 61st minute, winning a penalty after Fernandez beat Francis Coquelin to a pull-back to the edge of the area.

Fernandez scored the penalty but Granada's lead lasted only two minutes, Vallejo latching on to Denis Cheryshev's lifted pass through and whipping the ball first time into the corner.

Five minutes later, Valencia pulled ahead in stunning fashion as Guedes' rocket from 25 yards flew into the top corner off the hand of Rui Silva.

But Granada hit back again, Vico's driven free kick flying through a gap in the middle of Valencia's wall with four minutes left. Roberto Soldado could have won it for Granada in injury time but Jasper Cillessen made the stop.

Earlier, Celta Vigo's emergency signing Nolito scored his second goal since returning to the club last month but it was not enough for victory against Real Betis.

Nolito's free kick set Celta up for a valuable home victory at Balaidos, only for Zouhair Feddal to smash in a Betis equaliser 11 minutes from the end to seal a 1-1 draw.

It represents a missed opportunity for Celta to move further away from the relegation zone but they should still have enough for survival.

They sit 17th, six points ahead of Real Mallorca, with four games left. Betis will be satisfied with a point too, as they are now nine points clear of the bottom three.

Valladolid climbed a point above Betis after they beat Alaves 1-0, Fernandez Moreno grabbing an 88th-minute winner to all-but guarantee their safety.

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