Valencia CF start their La Liga campaign with a hard earned draw especially after being reduced to 10 man halfway through the second half. Lots of perseverance and work ethic was shown today along with a strong character to be able to achieve this result.
The game started with Valencia CF settling in quickly and testing Sevilla from the first minutes of the game. Parejo found Alcacer in the box, who pulled it across to find Piatti's run. The shot hit both posts but didn't cross the line. Sevilla remained on the back foot and were very nervous when their keeper Beto, left the field due to a pulled muscle. This was another boost for Valencia CF, as the substitute Barbaso was very shaky in goal. He would soon be dispossessed by Paco in his own box, but nothing materialized from that chance. Sevilla really started playing in the last minute of the first half and were rewarded with a goal, via Aleix Vidal (a Valencia CF summer transfer target) who failed to beat Alves in the first effort but was given a chance on the rebound and this time he scored.
Valencia CF started the second half positively but nowhere near the same level as the start of the game. This was the worst period of the game for Valencia CF in terms of possession, as it was given away very frequently through very sloppy passes (Parejo was a big culprit in this poor passing). Valencia CF got caught off guard again but luckily Vittolo fired it wide, missing a very good chance. Then Nuno brought on de Paul for Alcacer who had little to no supply since the beginning of the match. de Paul would take about 64 seconds to get himself red carded by the referee, a bit unfair IMO. I've seen it given as yellow more times than not.
Losing a player certainly didn't help the possession. Nuno brought on new signing Lucas Orban for Andre Gomes, which indicated a defensive style of play was to follow. However, there was no indication of that as Valencia CF fought back and pressured Sevilla back to their own half. For the last part of the game, it was as if Sevilla were the ones with a man down. In the last two minutes of regular time, Parejo linked up well with Rodrigo in a one-two. Rodrigo then picked out Otamendi in the box, whose deflected shot found its way to Orban who managed to head it into the net.
The most character in this game was shown by the defense. They held their own quite well and did well to shut down Sevilla's front line. In fact, barring them falling asleep near the end of the first half when the goal was conceded, there wasn't anything bad to say about them. The Vezo-Otamendi partnership is still as solid as it was during preseason. You would think that they have been playing alongside each other for well over the past three months. Gaya was superb again, he never fails to put on a performance. His crossing wasn't the best this game, but his forward runs gave trouble to the opposing defense, and somehow he never fails to track back to cover his defensive duties. Barragan had no attacking presence but he did well to stop Vittolo from getting creative or any ideas of doing anything.
1-0 Aleix Vidal, 44'
1-1 Lucas Orban, 88'
Sevilla FC (1): Beto (Barbosa, 17'), Navarro, Carrico, Pareja, Coke, Krychowiak, Iborra (Luismi, 79'), Vittolo, Suarez, Vidal (Banega, 69'), Bacca
Valencia CF (1): Diego Alves, Barragan, Otamendi, Vezo, Gaya, Fuego, Parejo, Gomes (Orban, 82'), Piatti (Feghouli, 55'), Rodrigo, Alcacer (de Paul, 65')
Diego Alves 5.5 - untroubled for most of the game, could do very little about the goal. He saved the first effort but couldn't save the next.
Barragan 6 - solid defensive work and denied Vittolo the space to move around and cause trouble. Didn't help out in offense, no link between him and Rodrigo.
Vezo 7 - great performance and understanding between him and Otamendi. This was the main reason by Bacca was for the most part ineffective in offense. Good positioning and clearances, even helped out the midfield a few times.
Otamendi 6 - Finally started to settle properly into the team, good partnership with Vezo. Partly to blame for missing his tackle on Bacca in the lead up to the goal. Later, he selflessly threw himself in front of a Sevilla shot to maintain a 1 goal deficit.
Gaya (MOTM) 7.5- Did just about everything asked of him and more. Combined well with Piatti, got forward with timely runs and rarely endangered his defense by being out of position since he tracked back well.
Fuego 5 - Was invisible for huge portions of the game. Not available for passes when he was needed and as such Gomes and Parejo would have to try a difficult pass forward only to waste possession. Failed to cover for defense when the full-backs went up.
Parejo 5.5 - Dribbling certainly improved but about 50% pass completion during the game. That's terrible for a playmaker and the new number 10. Gave away possession too much. Created the play that almost resulted in a goal from Piatti. Cleverly set up Rodrigo's cross to create the goal.
Gomes 5 - His partnership with Parejo is almost non-existent. Also gave away possession through poor passing. Retained the ball better than Parejo.
Piatti 5 - Started off the game well, very active and engaged. Should've scored the opening goal but was unfortunate to have it hit both posts. Slowly faded from the game afterwards.
Rodrigo 7 - was the only attacking presence in the whole game after Piatti's chance. Clever linkup with Parejo and created the goal scoring opportunity.
Alcacer 6 - Only got one chance at goal which he blasted high and wide. Did well to pressure the opposing defense when he was off the ball and forced the keeper into a mistake and dispossessed him. Unfortunately, nothing came of the chance. Set up Piatti perfectly after being picked out by Parejo, but the winger couldn't convert.
Feghouli 4.5 - Didn't really accomplish anything after coming onto the field. Nothing even remotely close to the form he showed last year.
de Paul N/A - sent off straight way
Orban 6.5 - scored the winning goal by being in the right place at the right time. His timing and tackling in defense is really valuable. Looks promising.
Man of the Match: Gaya
Flop of the Match: de Paul
Best offense: Rodrigo Moreno
Worst offense: Feghouli
Best defense: Vezo and Gaya
Worst defense: Fuego
Best possession: Rodrigo Moreno
Worst possession: Parejo and Fuego