Valencia edge out Vallecano
Valencia were nearly overcome by stage fright but managed to beat Rayo Vallecano 1-0 thanks to Jonas' goal.
Last Updated: 28/09/13 9:24pm
Valencia were nearly overcome by stage fright at home to Rayo Vallecano on Saturday night but a solitary goal from Jonas was enough to secure their third straight Primera Division win.
Boss Miroslav Djukic was on thin ice after overseeing three straight La Liga defeats before watching his team lose 3-0 to Swansea at the Mestalla, but subsequent wins over Sevilla and Granada lifted the Catalan club back into the top half.
They reached 12 points on Saturday thanks to a fortuitous 37th-minute goal from Jonas but, when Rayo came looking for an equaliser, Valencia were suddenly beset by nerves and only luck saw them cling onto all three points.
The first half would be firmly weighted in Valencia's favour but the visitors were first to threaten as Sergio Canales tried his luck from a free-kick.
Joao Pereira made the block and Los Che raced up the other end to feed Dorlan Pabon, who drove the ball into Ruben's gloves.
The Rayo keeper had to stay awake as Federico Cartabia came knocking.
The Argentinian first forced Ruben to tip the ball round a post before trying to score directly from the resulting corner, to no avail.
Roberto Trashorras tested Diego Alves' reflexes but Valencia were soon counter-attacking to plunder the first goal of the game.
Jonas was not too disappointed when Ruben pulled off a stunning save on his snapshot from the middle of the box, as one minute later he successfully drove the ball into the bottom corner after catching Saul Niguez dawdling in possession.
Valencia kept coming after the break and, after Ever Banega saw his drive cut out by Ze Castro, Bernat headed over the crossbar from close range.
Canales then went eye-to-eye with Ruben in the 55th minute but his close-range finish was punched clear.
Rayo finally managed to close ranks and their new-found organisation saw them create two chances through Trashorras and Adrian Gonzalez.
The former glanced a header over the bar from a good position before Adrian took Trashorras' pass and slammed it into the stands.
The tide was turning and Alhassane Bangoura was next to threaten, shooting wide from 12 yards, so Djukic sprang out of the dugout to issue some late instructions.
Valencia would tighten up but not get much sharper in front of goal, Pabon's free-kick getting as far as Joaquin Larrivey before Canales mishit an easy opportunity from the middle of the box.
The dying embers of the game belonged to Rayo, even though they returned to Madrid empty-handed and desperately frustrated.
Alberto Perea and Adrian each skewed shots wide of Lopez's goal before the final whistle and Djukic was able to breathe another sigh of relief.