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Barcelona draw shows signs of life for boss Gary Neville at Valencia

By Pete Jenson

He was behind the glass partition of club owner Peter Lim's private box at the Mestalla when the 86th-minute equaliser came, but Gary Neville will still have felt the stadium shake as the net bulged.

Neville takes his first training session as Valencia coach this morning and after brother Phil helped mastermind an impressive 1-1 draw against champions Barcelona on Saturday, he will know that there is plenty to be positive about as he looks forward to his first match in charge on Wednesday against Lyon.

Beating the Ligue 1 side will give Valencia a chance of reaching the Champions League knockout stage and Lyon's form suggests it is well within their grasp. Valencia in contrast have lost only one of their last nine at the Mestalla in Europe and are on a run of 19 home games without defeat in all competitions. They will welcome back full-back Joao Cancelo and midfielder Javi Fuego from suspension and centre-half Shkodran Mustafi might yet overcome a hamstring injury to return to the side.

If Los Che win they are then in the hands of Andre Villas-Boas's Zenit St Peterburg. Should the Russians, who have already won the group, manage a home draw against Gent and Valencia win, the Neville brothers will be in the last 16 of the Champions League.

As preparation for what will be his first memorable European night as a coach, the draw against Barcelona was full of signs of encouragement for Gary Neville.

The fans were united behind the team, even though Luis Suarez's 12th goal of the season - which appeared offside - gave Barcelona the lead.

Striker Paco Alcacer is perhaps one of the main stars in the team and it was the Spain international who earned his team a point with just four minutes left.

When a long pass dropped to him on the edge of the area, Alcacer had Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique either side of him and the odds stacked in their favour. But he brought the ball down and drifted between his markers before rolling it to the unmarked Santi Mina to score.

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