Valencia top-four bid "impossible" after Eibar defeat

Valencia top-four bid "impossible" after Eibar defeat

Valencia's chances of making La Liga's top four appear to be over after they were beaten 1-0 away at relegation battlers Eibar on Thursday.

Geoffrey Kondogbia's own-goal after 16 minutes gave Eibar the lead at Ipurua, where they were the better side in a victory that could prove crucial to their survival.

Valencia could have no complaints and defeat leaves them eighth in the table, seven points adrift of Sevilla in fourth. Since La Liga restarted, they have won only once in four matches.

They squeezed into the Champions League last year on the final day of the season but another rescue act looks unlikely, with defender Jose Luis Gaya admitting after the game that finishing in the top four feels "impossible".

"We knew what to expect here on this pitch, we knew once Eibar get in front it's very difficult," Gaya said.

"It feels impossible to qualify for the Champions League now.

"We're far behind and it's going to be very hard now to recover. It's very difficult, we're really frustrated because we haven't taken our opportunity."

Victory for Eibar moves them six points clear of Real Mallorca in the relegation zone, a significant advantage even with seven games still to play.

After restarting with a loss and two draws, Eibar had been sucked into the battle at the bottom but this win puts them in a strong position to guarantee top-flight status for a seventh consecutive year.

Their goal was fortunate as Valencia failed to clear a routine corner and as Kondogbia turned his back the ball rebounded off his leg and flew in.

"We weren't playing well before," said Eibar's Pedro Leon. "We had a lost a bit of rhythm but now we feel like we're on the right path again."

AFP
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