Cristiano Piccini’s first goal for Valencia in stoppage time, dramatically snatched all three points for Los Che in a 2-1 win against Huesca at the Mestalla.
In a spicy and open contest in Valencia, both teams enjoyed passages of good play with their problems in front of goal telling the tale of the first half of the season thus far.
After Dani Parejo had given the hosts the lead, Cucho Hernandez’s penalty leveler looked to have frustrated the hosts, before the Italian full-back’s 93rd-minute strike sent the Mestalla into raptures.
Parejo draws first blood
Despite the hosts struggling for large parts of the season, Los Che began on the front and dominated the early stages as expected. However it took until mid-way through the first-half for Marcelino’s men to draw first blood.
As the men is white continued to pour forward Dani Parejo’s ball forward found its’ way to striker Santi Mina on the bye-line.
The forward cut the ball back across the penalty area to arriving Parejo, who side-footed the ball over goalkeeper Roberto Santamaria and into the Huesca net.
The visitors went close to doubling the advantage but were this time thwarted by Santamaria on numerous occasions, including at close range by a Mina header.
It was not a one-sided opening period by any mean however, as the visitors showed glimpses of promise but again failed to convert openings from David Ferreiro and Alex Gallar, as Neto denied the visitors.
Hernandez converts deserved leveler
Indeed the second half saw further chances spurned by both sides began to show their recent La Liga malaises in finding the target.
The hosts were desperate for a much-needed win going into the Christmas break, but were again wracked by nerves as Hernandez was felled inside the area, with referee Jesus Gil Manzano pointing to the spot.
The Colombian who had scored just twice this term stepped and coolly slotted his spot-kick past Neto, as jeers rang out from the home fans.
The goal flipped the momentum in Huesca’s favour, as Valencia continued to make errors in midfield on were fortunate not to go behind late on.
Again giving the ball away in midfield, Samuele Longo ran in on the Valencia goal, but defender Mouctar Diakhaby did enough to prevent the Italian from getting a shot away.
Moments later, Ferreiro then saw his free-kick clatter the crossbar as Marcelino looked on nervously from the touchline.
Piccini snatches dramatic winner
In a thrilling conclusion both sides were seeking the three points, this time Carlos Soler threw himself at cross but couldn’t get proper contact and the ball skewed behind.
With time ebbing away, Huesca were holding firm and looked to have earned a point, before Valencia struck a late, late blow.
Aerial balls peppered the visiting goal, and then as the ball was cleared to the right, a knock down fell to Piccini, who raced in from his full-back position and thundered a right-footed effort into Santamaria’s far corner of the net.
The visiting players collapsed to the floor as Piccini wheeled off in celebration, with a relieved Marcelino punching the air, as Los Che snatched the win with what turned out to be the final kick of the game.