Roberto Soldado rescued a point for Valencia in the Mestalla as they fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw with Chelsea in Group E of the Champions League.
The English team was the first to settle and Fernando Torres had a decent shout for a penalty turned down after just three minutes when he was bundled over by Adil Rami, while Valencia were content to play on the counter-attack. Looking a shadow of the side that had caused Barcelona problems in the last home game, Unai Emery’s men struggled to create chances as the visitors controlled things and were probably glad to reach the break all-square.
After the restart the game sparked into life with Diego Alves pulling off three world-class saves in two minutes, first denying Torres, then one-on-one with Ramires, and then when Victor Ruiz almost diverted a corner into his own net. However, he could do nothing to stop Chelsea taking the lead on 56 minutes as Frank Lampard drove home from inside the box following a Florent Malouda cross.
The home side then sent on Pablo Piatti for Jeremy Mathieu and began to show more attacking intent, Piatti seeing Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal push his effort over the bar. Emery then introduced Jonas and Sofiane Feghouli for the last 20 minutes in an attempt to force an equaliser and the move paid off – although in fortunate circumstances.
Substitute Salomon Kalou, on for scorer Lampard, inexplicably handled a right-wing corner and Soldado despatched the resultant spot-kick to give Los Ch