Valencia CF shrugged off some patchy domestic form to keep a powerful, determined PSV Eindhoven at bay, drawing 1-1 to ease through to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals 5-3 aggregate.
Second-half goals from Adil Rami, later sent off, and Ola Toivonen were the sum total of a stirring night of football when each goalkeeper took the chance to produce something special from his repertoire. Despite the Dutch club's wonderful pedigree, Valencia have spent more time dining at the top table of European football in recent seasons and it showed.
When Phillip Cocu's men, roared on by a big, lusty home support, tried to impose a frenetic tempo the visitors remained implacable. Despite missing top scorer Roberto Soldado, it was still an unhurried, experienced performance. They also managed the key task of excelling in match-turning moments – at both ends. In fact, the defining battle was probably between Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves and the rampaging Toivonen.
The PSV captain equalised on the night – following a Tim Matavž flick-on in the 63rd minute – but long before Valencia had even taken the lead Toivonen must have believed he had given his side a crucial breakthrough. Stanislav Manolev crossed in the 25th minute and the big blond forward picked his spot, but the header was saved spectacularly by Alves.
Anything Alves could do, Przemysław Tytoń could do he could do better as he produced an even more remarkable stop, arching backwards to claw out Jordi Alba's lob from underneath the bar before half-time. However, the restart could not have been worse for Cocu's men given that a loose clearance from Erik Pieters was converted into a dreaded away goal.
When the full-back hooked clear, the ball dropped to Sofiane Feghouli. He wrapped his leg around a hopeful drive, which was flicked on by the forehead of Rami and beyond the despairing Tytoń. With five minutes left Alves completed his blue riband night with another sensational save from Kevin Strootman's left-footed drive. Rami saw red for his tangle with Toivonen just before the end but it was too late for PSV.
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