Ayestaran's dismal run with Las Palmas continues

AFP
Spanish media reported that Ayestaran's job with Las Palmas was not immediately under threat, however, and that he was expected to be in charge for Sunday's trip to Real Sociedad.
AFP

Las Palmas coach Pako Ayestaran was clinging to his job on Monday after his team's 0-2 loss at Levante marked a sixth straight defeat in his first six games in charge.

Ayestaran is one game away from equaling the club's worst ever run of results under Frenchman Marcel Domingo in the 1959-60 season.

Las Palmas stayed stuck to the bottom of the standings following its ninth consecutive league defeat in Sunday's match, although it is only three points from escaping the relegation zone.

Spanish media reported on Sunday that Ayestaran's job with Las Palmas was not immediately under threat, however, and that he was expected to be in charge for Sunday's trip to Real Sociedad.

Ayestaran himself said he had no intention of resigning from his role with the club.

"I would have to be dead in order to give up," he told a news conference after his side conceded twice in the second half against Levante.

"The result was unfair, I don't think we deserved to lose this game. We are feeling very down, but we're convinced we can get out of this."

Ayestaran also holds the record for the longest run of defeats for a coach in La Liga, losing 13 games in a row: the six losses with Las Palmas adding to seven straight defeats in his last job with Valencia which led to him being sacked in September 2016.

The previous record for consecutive defeats was held by Jose Espada Virgos who lost 10 games on the trot with Alcoyano in the 1950-51 season.

Ayestaran was Rafael Benitez's assistant for 11 years, following the Spaniard to Osasuna, Extremadura, Tenerife, Valencia and Liverpool.

He made his debut as a first team coach with Mexican side Tecos in 2013 before winning a domestic treble with Israeli outfit Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2015.

He succeeded Gary Neville as Valencia coach in March 2016 and quickly strung together three victories, including a shock 2-1 win at eventual champion Barcelona, before his record soured.

AFP

Valencia forward Santiago Mina shoots to score against Espanyol during their Spanish league match at the RCDE Stadium in Cornella de Llobregat on November 19, 2017. Valencia won 2-0.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Valencia coach Marcelino was sent off from the dugout for dissent before watching his side earn a barely deserved 2-0 win at Espanyol to stay in touch with Barcelona ahead of next week's showdown against the Liga leader.

A rocket from Geoffrey Kondogbia put Valencia on its way to victory midway through the second half soon after Marcelino received his marching orders and Santiago Mina sealed the victory late in the game.

Marcelino, who had opted to rest top scorer Simone Zaza and in-form winger Goncalo Guedes, saw his side survive a flurry of attempts from the hosts in both halves.

Gerard Moreno struck the post while Sergio Garcia and former Valencia man Pablo Piatti narrowly missed the target.

After Marcelino's sending off, which means he will be absent from the dugout for the visit of Barca, French midfielder Kondogbia broke the deadlock against the run of play with a deadly shot from the edge of the area in the 66th minute, his third goal of the season.

Mina then pounced on a defensive clanger from Espanyol's Victor Sanchez in the 82nd  to seal a club-record eighth league win in a row for Valencia, which has emerged as unlikely candidates to jostle Barca for the Liga title.

"We had to work very hard for this win, we were second best in the first half but we managed to cope, stay compact and compete," Mina told reporters.

"In the second half we had more of the ball, we were more comfortable and we take away three points from this very difficult ground."

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid fell 10 points behind the Catalans following Saturday's goalless local derby.

Barca leads the standings on 34 points from 12 games, Valencia is second in 30, while Real is third and Atletico fourth, both on 24.


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