Real Madrid draw at Valencia as pressure on Rafa Benitez mounts
Gary Neville's Valencia twice came from behind to claim a 2-2 draw against 10-man Real Madrid in the Primera Division to turn up the heat on Rafael Benitez.
Former Valencia boss Benitez is under considerable pressure at Real and a late equaliser from Paco Alcacer at the Mestalla, moments after Gareth Bale had given the visitors the lead, will have damaged his cause.
Real had also led in the first half after a Karim Benzema strike but that was cancelled out just before the interval by a penalty from Daniel Parejo.
In a chaotic and eventful game, Real had Mateo Kovacic sent off for a bad tackle on Joao Cancelo seconds after Cristiano Ronaldo had a penalty appeal turned down.
Both sides also had late chances to snatch victory in a frantic finish. The result meant Real missed the chance to move above Barcelona into second in the Primera Division and Neville is still looking for his first league victory at Valencia, although his side performed with credit.
Real drew first blood after 16 minutes when Benzema combined neatly with Bale and Ronaldo before guiding a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Valencia could have had a quick reply buy Aymen Abdennour missed a clear chance and Sergio Ramos denied Andre Gomes with a good block.
Real were aggrieved when Bale was not awarded a penalty following a challenge by Lucas Orban and their anger increased when Gomes did win one at the other end on the stroke of half-time.
Gomes did seem to be bundled over clumsily by Pepe and Parejo calmly stroked home from 12 yards.
Gomes forced a good save from Keylor Navas with a swirling shot early in the second half as Valencia continued to impress but Real were also threatening.
Ronaldo appealed for a penalty claiming he was pushed over by Abdennour as he attempted to hurdle goalkeeper Juame.
Again the referee waved play on and seconds later he brandished the red card as Kovacic went in heavily on Cancelo.
Real initially dealt well with the blow and Bale put them back ahead after 82 minutes as he got his head to a Toni Kroos free-kick and the ball looped over Juame.
That put Benitez in sight of a crucial win but just 70 seconds later his side were punished as Rodrigo nodded down a cross from Rodrigo de Paul and Alcacer headed in from close range.
Further drama followed in injury time as Ronaldo failed to make contact with a header and Valencia broke but Alvaro Negredo, when clean through, shot at Navas and Gomes put the rebound wide. There was still time for another Bale chance but he blazed over.