Thursday 8 December 2016

Neville sent off as Valencia suffer heartbreak

Published 18/03/2016 | 02:30

Valencia's British coach Gary Neville gestures from the sidelines during the match against Athletic Club de Bilbao Photo: AFP/Getty
Valencia's British coach Gary Neville gestures from the sidelines during the match against Athletic Club de Bilbao Photo: AFP/Getty

Gary Neville was sent to the stands by the referee as his Valencia side were knocked out of the Europa League by a controversial Athletic Bilbao goal at the Mestalla last night.

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Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Valencia stormed into a 2-0 lead in the first half through a Santi Mina goal and Aderlan Santos's superb header.

Bilbao rarely threatened to get back into the tie but with 14 minutes to go referee Daniele Orsato failed to spot a handball by the visitors and, as play continued, Raul Garcia crossed to veteran striker Aritz Aduriz, who scored from close range.

Neville raged at the officials but it was in vain and he watched the end of the match from the stands as Valencia crashed out of the competition on away goals.

There was no late drama in Italy where Lazio were comprehensively taken apart on their home patch by Sparta Prague, who scored three times in the first half to complete a 4-1 aggregate victory.

Sparta, who held on for a 1-1 draw in the home leg last week, scored twice in quick succession through Borek Dockal after 10 minutes and Ladislav Krejci two minutes later.

The tie was effectively done and dusted when Lukas Julis hooked in a third a minute before the break.

Irish Independent

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