Valencia slips at home to Real Sociedad
Antoine Griezmann scored the only goal as Valencia slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Primera Division strugglers Real Sociedad.
Perhaps feeling the effects of their away-goals victory over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey in midweek, third-placed Valencia offered surprisingly little in attack.
And they paid the price when Griezmann, with a touch of good fortune, scored 11 minutes into the second half.
Valencia began brightly and announced their threat after nine minutes when Aritz Aduriz got a header on goal from Bruno Saltor's corner, but it was straight at Claudio Bravo.
After 15 minutes Pablo Hernandez tested Bravo with a 25-yard volley which the goalkeeper pushed away, then moments later turned inside and saw a second shot deflected behind.
From the resulting corner, taken by Dani Parejo, Aduriz glanced a header against the bar.
But thereafter their threat faded as a lethargic performance saw them reach half-time goalless.
Aduriz again showed his threat from corners eight minutes into the second period, rising highest to meet Parejo's delivery, but he nodded over the bar.
The game changed when Griezmann took advantage of a stroke of luck to give his side the lead.
His initial shot was blocked by Adil Rami, but it bounced back off the forward's thigh and arm before he lifted it over Diego Alves, possibly with the help of another touch off Rami.
Valencia huffed and puffed but had little to offer as they tried to get back into the game and Ever Banega's shot from distance with five minutes to play, which was always going over, summed up their efforts.
It left Valencia four points behind second-placed Barcelona, who play Real Betis on Sunday.