Valencia’s chances of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League took a hit on Thursday with a 1-0 loss at relegation-threatened Sociedad Deportiva Eibar in La Liga.
The result left Valencia in eighth place, seven points behind Sevilla, who hold the final Champions League qualification spot.
A win would have left Valencia in a tie for fifth. They stayed two points behind sixth-placed Villarreal in the final UEFA Europa League spot.
An own-goal by Geoffrey Kondogbia in the 16th minute gave the victory to Eibar, who remained in 17th place, but opened a four-point gap to the relegation zone.
Eibar players celebrated the win with fans who watched the match from the balconies of buildings overlooking Ipurua Futbol Zelaia.
It was the first victory after the COVID-19 suspension for the Basque Country club, who were coming off consecutive draws against Athletic Bilbao and Getafe. They had resumed with a loss at Real Madrid.
Valencia have lost two of their four matches since the suspension. They have not won an away match since December last year.
“Away matches have been a problem for us this season,” Valencia defender Jose Luis Gaya said. “We have been performing well at home, getting good results, but we don’t have a good streak away from home. If we want to contend for a Champions League spot we need to start winning these away matches.”
Kondogbia found his own net when a corner went through several players and ricocheted off his leg.
“We can’t concede a goal like that if we want to make it to the Champions League,” Gaya said. “It’s difficult to turn things around in these types of matches.”
Valencia defender Eliaquim Mangala was sent off in the 90th minute for a foul that earned him a second yellow card.
Elsewhere, Real Betis Balompie ended their winless streak after the suspension with a 1-0 home victory over last-placed RCD Espanyol thanks to Marc Bartra’s goal early in the second half.
It was Betis’ first game since coach Rubi was fired because of poor results.
La Liga leaders Real Madrid visit Espanyol tomorrow after second-placed Barcelona visit RC Celta de Vigo today.
The Spanish powerhouses are tied on points, but Madrid have the better head-to-head record with seven matches left.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two