SK Slavia Praha 2-2 Valencia CF
Bottom of Group B, 2-0 down and reduced to ten men with eleven minutes remaining, the hosts defied all expectation to earn a draw.
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Bottom of Group B, 2-0 down and reduced to ten men with eleven minutes remaining, SK Slavia Praha claimed an unlikely point to breathe life into their UEFA Europa League campaign.
Genoa CFC's win against leaders LOSC Lille Métropole looked to have left Valencia sitting pretty at the summit. Joaquín's consummate conversion of a 22nd-minute penalty and Hedwiges Maduro's glorious second-half strike, followed by the immediate dismissal of Slavia's Zdeněk Šenkeřík, put them in total control. However, Petr Janda and Peter Grajciar had other ideas, turning the game, and potentially the section, on its head in the closing stages.
The hosts' purposeful start was swiftly undermined by their visitors' extra composure, Los Che taking the game by the scruff of the neck on 22 minutes when Juan Mata was scythed down by David Hubáček's despairing lunge. Joaquín made no mistake from the spot, favouring ferocity over precision to fire into the roof of the net. Any of Karel Jarolím's half-time plans on how to unpick the Valencia lock were torn up three minutes into the second period. Maduro struck the first blow, rifling into substitute goalkeeper Martin Vaniak's right-hand corner from 25 metres, and Šenkeřík inflicted the second, booked for the second time within 60 seconds of the goal.
Pablo Hernández and Rubén Baraja could have put matters to bed, the former shooting wide and the latter heading against the bar, but Slavia cared not for the game's momentum. Janda headed in a corner with eleven minutes to go and Grajciar assuredly turned in Adam Hloušek's saved shot to draw them level against all the odds. Baraja received his second yellow card deep into added time to compound Valencia's misery on a day that for so long looked theirs for the taking. Slavia are still bottom but, on this showing, in with a fighting chance.