Valencia beats Las Palmas to start La Liga with consecutive wins

Fri, Aug 18, 2023
Soccer News (AP)

Valencia beats Las Palmas to start La Liga with consecutive wins

MADRID (AP) - Valencia beat Las Palmas 1-0 at home to make it back-to-back wins to start the Spanish league on Friday, while Villarreal won at Mallorca 1-0.

Midfielder Jose "Pepelu" Garcia, who joined from Levante in the offseason, converted a 73rd-minute penalty after Javi Munoz was penalized for a handball in the area.

Valencia struggled to avoided relegation last campaign and lost several players in the summer. Regular starters Samuel Lino, Edinson Cavani, Yunus Musah, Justin Kluivert, Ilaix Moriba, and Nico Gonzalez all left the club.

Pepelu was among the few signings made by the club owned by Singapore businessman Peter Lim, who is repeatedly criticized by Valencia's fans for his lack of investment in the squad.

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That left coach Ruben Baraja, a former Valencia midfielder, with the only choice of giving the club's youth a chance. Javi Guerra, 20, and Diego Lopez, 21, impressed again after their strong performances in a win at Sevilla last week.

Las Palmas goalkeeper Alvaro Valles saved shots by Diego Lopez and Thierry Correa in the first part when the visitors had more possession and the hosts the best chances.

Earlier, Gerard Moreno scored to give Villarreal its first victory.

The striker tapped in a loose ball for the 63rd-minute winner after Mallorca goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic tamely swatted a header by Alexander Sorloth from a cross by Alex Baena.

Mallorca lost defender Antonio Raillo to an apparent leg injury near the end of the first half. Raillo scored in Mallorca's 1-1 draw at Las Palmas in their opener.

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