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Swansea Stutter Against Valencia

Swansea were unable to confirm their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League after they lost 1-0 to Valencia in a Group A game at the Liberty Stadium on Thursday night.

The result means Valencia top the group with 12 points and are guaranteed a place in the last 32 while Swansea will have to fight it out on the last matchday of the group stages.

The opening 45 minutes saw the home side with the better chances, but they went into the half time break a goal down largely thanks to a mistake from their keeper Gerhard Tremmel.

Swansea started brightly and Wilfried Bony came close to opening the scoring when he met a Roland Lamah cross in the sixth minute, but he saw his header go inches wide of the target.

Bony was afforded another chance to find the back of the net five minutes later when a poor punched clearance from Diego Alves at a corner-kick fell to the Swansea man, but again he headed narrowly wide.

In the 17th minute Swansea were made to pay for their early missed opportunities when Daniel Parejo handed Valencia the lead.

Tremmel attempted to punch a corner-kick clear under no pressure, but it only resulted in a goalmouth scramble which was concluded by Parejo stroking the ball home from 12-yards out, 1-0.

The goal gave Valencia some confidence and Parejo tried his luck from 22-yards out in the 35th minute, but this time Tremmel was up to the task, making a fine save low and to his right.

The visitors were at it again eight minutes later as Jonas Gonalves let fly from distance, but his effort went just over the crossbar.

Swansea suffered a further set-back in the 38th minute when Bony had to leave the field injured (hamstring) and was replaced by Alvaro Vasquez.

The substitute thought he had found the equaliser two minutes later when he put the ball into the back of the net after latching onto a palmed save from Alves, deflecting a Jonjo Shelvey effort into the path of Vasques, but the goal was ruled off-sides, wrongly so.

The second 45 saw Valencia start the better of the two teams and Sofiane Feghouli should really have doubled his side’s lead five minutes after the restart when he found himself with just the keeper to beat, but he shot wide from 14-yards out.

Thereafter Swansea took control of the game and came close to levelling matters in the 67th minute when Angel Rangel headed the ball inches over the target after latching onto a Vasquez cross.

Two minutes later and only a brilliant save from Alves kept his side in front as he denied Jonathan De Guzman, making a finger-tip save to stop a 24-yard shot.

Swansea continued to push forward and Vasquez thought he had stolen the point for Swansea in the 86th minute, but he saw his six-yard shot cleared off the line by a Valencia defender after the keeper was beat.

The game ended 1-0 in favour of Valencia who confirmed their place in the knockout stages of the competition and at the top of Group A.

Swansea will now face a nervy last group game as they are only three points ahead of third placed Kuban Kransnodar who beat FC St Gallen 4-0 also on Thursday night.

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