Racing Santander 0-1 Valencia: Nikola Zigic Goal Suffidient For Off-Form Valencia
It was a close encounter and not an especially entertaining one.
Valencia had Nikola Zigic to thank for a narrow victory over a toothless Racing Santander side at the Sardinero.
A much-changed Valencia line-up in fact struggled for vast periods of this encounter, with only a moment of madness from Pablo Pinillos helping to settle matters in their favour.
Nonetheless, all three points head south, and Valencia go fifth on 11 points, Racing remaining just one point above the dropzone on five.A Valencia lineup without the rested David Silva and Pablo Hernandez began the game largely devoid of ideas, enjoying the bulk of the possession but being closed down effectively by Morris and Torrejon.
In fact Racing could have taken the lead on the half-hour mark through Pedro Munitis, but the decisive Cesar Sanchez in Los Che’s goal pulled off the first of many fine saves.
Valencia showed a rare spark of class just after the break as Joaquin played through David Villa for a shot uncharacteristically unconverted from a one-on-one position. Villa, injured, had to make way for Nikola Zigic.
This was a serendipitous move for Valencia coach Unai Emery, as no sooner was Zigic on the pitch than he soon managed a striker’s goal against his old club, taking advantage of a dreadful error from Pinillos, who held onto the ball far too long in the face of pressure from the Serb.
Racing gamely attempted to fight back, but with Cesar in exemplary form and the likes of David Navarro otherwise competent to carry out goalline clearances, it seemed like a pointless endeavour.
Indeed, it ended up as such, with Valencia holding on for an ill-deserved win against a Racing side that is fast entering crisis mode.