- Associated Press - Friday, September 25, 2015

VALENCIA, Spain (AP) - Valencia secured a much-needed 1-0 win over Granada in the Spanish league on Friday for its first home victory of the season.

Center back Shkodran Mustafi headed in what proved to be the winner in the 26th minute, and goalkeeper Jaume Domenech made the saves his team needed to take the points.

Valencia’s disgruntled fans had called for coach Nuno Espirito Santo to be fired after its last match at Mestalla Stadium, which ended in a draw. That was followed by a 1-0 defeat at Espanyol on Tuesday.

Despite the win that pushed Valencia into a provisional sixth place, applause mixed with jeers after the final whistle.

“You can’t please everyone, but you can win their respect,” said Espirito Santo. “We will have to find the tipping point for this to change. The first thing was to win, but the problem is still not resolved. Tuesday we play in the Champions League and we will suffer.”

Valencia heads to France to play at Lyon next after losing its European opener at home to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Granada has lost four matches in a row and five of six matches this season.

“The worst thing for Granada was the result,” said coach Jose Sandoval, whose side was left in the relegation zone in 18th place. “One day we will receive the recompense.”

Valencia won the better share of possession in the first half, and went ahead after Granada’s Javier Marquez tested Domenech with the match’s first scoring chance in the 23rd.

Shortly after, Mustafi dove to thump Zakaria Bakkali’s well-placed cross from the opposite right flank past goalie Andres Fernandez, who got a hand on the header but couldn’t keep it out.

Granada almost equalized three minutes later when Youssef El Arabi turned Isaac Success’ pass off the crossbar.

Domenech again had to spring into action to make a one-handed save of Ruben Rochina’s free kick to protect the hosts’ advantage just before halftime.

After the restart Marquez slotted a low strike through Valencia’s packed area but Domenech got low to smother it, and a nervous murmuring in the stands was heard in the final minutes as Granada pushed Valencia into its box searching for the draw.

Leader Real Madrid hosts Malaga on Saturday, while Barcelona welcomes Las Palmas looking to bounce back from its stinging 4-1 loss at Celta Vigo. Second-place Celta visits Eibar later that night.

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