Neville’s Valencia hold 10-man Real | The Daily Star
10:31 AM, January 04, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:35 AM, January 04, 2016

Valencia 2-2 Real Madrid: Benitez falls short against former club

Gary Neville's Valencia battled to a dramatic La Liga draw with Real Madrid, who ended up with 10 men.

The visitors led when Karim Benzema finished off a great move involving Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale but Dani Parejo equalised with a penalty.

Real had Mateo Kovacic sent off for a lunging tackle, but looked set for a win when Bale headed home.

However, seconds later Valencia earned a third point under Neville when Paco Alcacer headed in from close range.

And they could have won it in injury time when substitute Alvaro Negredo was found in space at the edge of the box - but he shot straight at keeper Keylor Navas.

There is no doubt this is the best result of Neville's spell as Valencia boss, following a Champions League defeat, two La Liga points from three games and a Spanish Cup win over lower league Barakaldo.

Los Che did not look impressive in the opening half an hour as they trailed but Parejo deservedly levelled from the spot after Pepe fouled Andre Gomes.

And Neville made attacking changes once Real went down to 10 men - with one of them, Rodrigo, assisting their equaliser as he headed a cross down to Alcacer to equalise.

Another - Negredo - should have sealed a famous win when Alcacer found him in space deep into injury time but Navas denied him and Gomes put the rebound wide.

After the game, Neville repeated the fact he wants to remain at Valencia beyond his six-month contract and said his claim he did not see himself in management long term had been misunderstood.

Real boss Rafael Benitez is more popular among Valencia fans than his own, with the home supporters unfurling a banner thanking him for a spell in charge which included two La Liga titles earlier in the millennium.

He was named Madrid boss in the summer but they sit four points off city rivals Atletico, who have a fraction of Real's funding, at the top of La Liga and two behind Barcelona, who have a game in hand on them.

His substitution, in contrast to Neville's, will not have pleased their support, with main striker Benzema looking angry to be replaced by winger Lucas Vazquez two minutes before Kovacic's red card for hacking down Joao Cancelo.

And, although they looked like they were going to win it when Bale headed home before Alcacer's quickfire equaliser, they did nowhere near enough to deserve a victory.

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