Belfast Telegraph

Swans' hopes go down to the wire

By Andrew Gwilym

A controversial offside decision means Swansea's quest to secure a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League will go down to their last game after defeat to Valencia at the Liberty Stadium.

A draw would have been enough to take Swansea through from Group A with a game to spare, but they fell behind to Daniel Parejo's 20th-minute strike and then lost striker Wilfried Bony to a worrying hamstring injury.

They thought Alvaro Vazquez had levelled just before the break when Diego Alves could not hold Jonjo Shelvey's shot and the Spaniard tapped in, but the flag went up despite replays suggesting the two Swansea players were onside.

If the goal had stood, it would have sealed a spot in the last 32, but instead Swansea must wait until their final game against St Gallen to discover their fate.

Michael Laudrup's side are three points clear of third-placed Kuban Krasnodar, with the Russians having to go to group winners Los Che in the final round and Swansea three goals better off.

Valencia were much improved from the first meeting and deserved their lead.

Swansea had enjoyed a famous 3-0 win when the sides met at the Mestalla in the opening round of Group A fixtures, but there quickly appeared little chance of a repeat as Valencia started with authority.

The goal came when Gerhard Tremmel did not deal with a Sergio Canales corner and Parejo slotted home when Juan Bernat's deflected shot fell to him.

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