Valencia, Levante share derby spoils

Valencia let a lead slip away for the fourth consecutive home game as Arouna Kone’s second-half strike earned local rivals Levante a 1-1 draw at Mestalla.

Jonas Goncalves rounded off a fine team move to give the hosts the lead 10 minutes before half-time, but Levante were level eight minutes after the break as Valdo headed Jose Barkero’s cross into the path of the Ivorian who rifled home his 11th league goal of the season.

Both sides had great chances to win the game in the final 10 minutes as Kone stabbed Pedro Botelho’s cross inches wide before substitute Paco Alcacer headed straight at Gustavo Munua with the goal at his mercy.

Valencia have now only won once in six league matches at home in 2012 but in keeping with their form in many of those games they started brightly and should have been in front on 11 minutes but Dani Parejo somehow fired over when presented with almost an open goal.

However, despite losing to their city rivals three times already this season, Levante were not overawed and had chances themselves in the opening period.

Barkero’s curling free-kick crept just over the bar while Kone should have done better when he pulled his shot horribly wide 12 minutes later.

Valencia then produced by far their best passage of play in the match to take the lead as Aritz Aduriz released Sofiane Feghouli inside the area and his square pass was rolled in by Jonas.

It took the visitors just eight minutes into the second period to hit back, though, as Kone swept home on the turn from Valdo’s intelligent header back across the area.

Jonas came close to restoring Valencia’s lead with 22 minutes remaining as his shot from just outside the area flashed just wide, but Levante were continuing to cause problems on the counter-attack and Kone was desperately unlucky as he made a great run across the defence to meet Botelho’s cross only for the spin on his effort to pull the ball just wide.

Jonas was withdrawn by Unai Emery to the disapproval of the home support with four minutes to go but the change nearly proved inspired.

Just two minutes after the switch Pablo Hernandez’s cross picked out replacement Alcacer but the Spain Under-19 international placed his header straight into the hands of the grateful Munua.