LaLiga: Sampaoli's side slip up in race for third


Sevilla's bid for a top-three spot in LaLiga suffered a blow as they were held to a goalless draw at Valencia on Sunday.

Jorge Sampaoli's side – who ended a five-match winless run in the top flight with victory over Deportivo La Coruna last time out – had the better of possession at the Mestalla, but could not find a way through Valencia's stubborn defence.

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The hosts can count themselves lucky not to have been reduced to 10 men midway through the second half, though, with goalkeeper Diego Alves clearly handling outside of his area, only for the officials to dismiss Sevilla's appeals.

Sevilla almost opened the scoring early on in the first half, with Stevan Jovetic hitting the woodwork from close range, while Mariano was forced into a goalline clearance by Simone Zaza. 

After Sergio Escudero had seen a long-range strike sail just wide, Zaza should have put Valencia ahead after the interval, but he thumped his effort straight at Sergio Rico before Alves' blatant handball went unpunished at the other end.

The draw lifts Valencia onto 40 points, while Sevilla remain in fourth, three points behind Atletico Madrid, who comfortably beat Osasuna on Saturday.