So it has come down to the last match of the year and in the balance is qualification for next season's Champions League play. Valencia leads Real Sociedad by two points. If Valencia wins they make it. Let's not even consider the possible consequences of a loss or a draw. Sevilla have always been a tough game for Valencia while Real Sociedad takes on Deportivo who are frantically fighting to stay out of relegation. Who will blink?
Valencia CF fell at the final hurdle in the race for Champions League football, suffering a defeat against Sevilla at the Sánchez Pizjuán in an unforgettable night. A breakneck start, in which Éver Banega scored after 12 minutes, turned into a flurry of chances for the likes of Roberto Soldado. The game took a farcical turn on 20 minutes, however, with a penalty decision not given in Sergio Canales’ favour.
The destination of the three points was decided in the first half, as things became unbalanced against Valencia CF. Three penalties, including that on Canales, another on Jonas and a third on Soldado, were not whistled by the referee. However, one was awarded against Ricardo Costa and VCF, when the defender brought down Diego Perotti in the box. Álvaro Negredo scored from the spot to level up the game, but the injustice was plain to see.
The initial control was Sevilla’s, although it was only converted into one shot –saved by Viente Guaita. The first side to score were Valencia, and in some style: Banega showed extraordinary close control outside the box, then released a screamer past Ándres Palop into the top left corner. 1-0 up VCF had another chance that fell to Soldado, who hit the bar in the 24th minute.
The dubious penalty awarded to Sevilla was put away by Negredo, 5 minutes after he had levelled the game with an overhead kick inside the box. The striker had turned the scoreline around to give Sevilla an advantage in goals, and that became an advantage in manpower when referee Clos Gómez showed a straight red to Jonas. It was a baffling decision for an incident that had seen only a yellow card when committed by a Sevilla player on Soldado just minutes before.
Sofiane Feghouli came on for David Albelda after halftime, and Valencia CF pushed to reestablish a hold on the game. Soldado drew VCF level with a full-stretch finish for Joao Pereira’s cross, but immediately Negredo went down the other end of the pitch to make it 3-2. Negredo would get his fourth as Sevilla took advantage of their opponents’ urgency, and not even an 88 th minute Soldado goal could change things. With Real Sociedad winning at Deportivo La Coruña and the injustice at the Sánchez Pizjuán, the 2012/13 season would end with Valencia CF finishing fifth.
Spanish Primera División
Sánchez Pizjuán, Seville (Attendance: 25,000)
Sevilla FC 4 vs. 3 Valencia CF
Sevilla FC: Palop, Fernando Navarro, Cala, Jesús Navas, Medel, Negredo (Baba, min. 88), Perotti (Stevanovic, min. 63), Rakitic, Cicinho (Coke, min. 69), Kondogbia and Alberto.
Valencia CF: Guaita, Cissokho, Albelda (Feghouli, min. 46), Jonas, Soldado, Ever (Víctor Ruiz, min. 78), Joao, Ricardo Costa, Dani Parejo, Mathieu and Canales (Viera, min. 65).
Goals: 0-1 Min. 12 Ever 1-1 Min. 40 Negredo 2-1 Min. 43 Negredo 2-2 Min. 55 Soldado 3-2 Min. 57 Negredo 4-2 Min. 88 Negredo.
Referee: Clos Gómez (C. aragonés) Yellow cards for Fernando Navarro, Cala and Coke for Sevilla, Soldado, Albelda, Joao Pereira and Ricardo Costa for Valencia CF. Jonas was sent off for a straight red card.