Parejo haunts former club Valencia to send Villarreal top of league - GulfToday

Parejo haunts former club Valencia to send Villarreal top of league


Getafe’s Jaime Mata celebrates with team-mates after scoring against Barcelona during their Spanish League match in Getafe on Saturday. Associated Press

Villarreal midfielder Dani Parejo scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 win at home to former club Valencia to take his side top of La Liga on Sunday.

Parejo, who used to captain Valencia but switched to Villarreal in August, saying he had been forced out, barely celebrated his goal after his shot took a heavy deflection off Mouctar Diakhaby into the net in the 69th minute.

Paco Alcacer, another former Valencia player, had given Villarreal the lead with a penalty in the sixth minute although Goncalo Guedes levelled for the struggling visitors in the 37th.

Villarreal had Japan international Takefusa Kubo sent off in added time for a second yellow card while Parejo then limped off the pitch with a muscle injury.

Yet Unai Emery’s side saw out the win to lead the standings on 11 points after six games, one ahead of second-placed Real Madrid who were beaten 1-0 at home by Cadiz on Saturday. Valencia were left 12th on seven.

Gatafe pip Barcelona: Ronald Koeman still has work to do as Barcelona lost 1-0 at Getafe in the Spanish League on Saturday for their first defeat since Koeman took over with the mission of rebuilding his former team, which ended last season without a title.

Barcelona had started this season with two good wins over Villarreal and Celta Vigo. But their limitations in attack were seen in a 1-1 draw with Sevilla in the last round, and Getafe made Barcelona look clueless once the visitors fell behind.

Getafe lived up to its reputation as one of the top defensive sides in Spain and limited the visitors to two scoring opportunities.

Lionel Messi hit the upright in the 20th minute and Antoine Griezmann wasted a great chance on the half-hour mark.

After that, Getafe tightened its marking and Barcelona didn’t threaten again until Djene Dakonam almost scored an own-goal when he cleared a cross onto the crossbar.

Jose Bordalas Getafe went ahead in the 56th when Jaime Mata converted a penalty kick after Frenkie de Jong fouled Dakonam on the edge of the area while trying to clear a loose ball.

The first loss in four league matches this season for Koeman’s team comes before their Champions League opener against Hungarian club Ferencvaros on Tuesday and the season’s first “clasico” match against Real Madrid next weekend.

Koeman replaced Quique Setien in August after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern in the Champions League quarter-finals. He led an overhaul of the squad to bring in younger players, and the team had made a promising start before the draw with Sevilla and now the more costly slip at Getafe.

“It was a very hotly contested game, with many fouls that never let the match get any rhythm,” Koeman said.

After the match Koeman complained about the refereeing, saying “I don’t know what we have VAR for” and “there were some dangerous fouls” that went unpunished.

Koeman seemed to be referring to an incident in the first half when Messi went down after Allan Nyom’s arm swung into his face.

Koeman also said that he told Bordalas that Nyom “had insulted me and disrespected me, and that he needed to tell his player that that cannot be.” Koeman refused to say what Nyom had said to him, only claiming “it was ugly.”

Facing important matches ahead, Koeman changed his starting lineup for the first time this season.

Ousmane Dembele, who had only played 20 minutes previously, started in place of Ansu Fati. New signing Pedro “Pedri” Gonzalez, who had played as a substitute in all four previous matches, started in place of Philippe Coutinho. Fati and Coutinho had played with Spain and Brazil, respectively, during the international break last week.


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