Sunday, January 4, 2015

Valencia CF 2-1 Real Madrid Match Report

Valencia CF beat Real Madrid by two goals to one. Its been a long time coming for Valencia CF, the team has lost so many times to Real Madrid and there has been suspect refereeing for most of the matches for the past I'd like to say 5 years, there's always something that happened, whether it was a red card for VCF or a wrongful offside that would deny a perfectly reasonable goal, but today the better team won and the referee couldn't get in between Valencia CF and its victory.

Real Madrid were coming to this match with a streak of 22 wins, they were on a record breaking path and looking as strong as ever to continue their streak. They met their match in Valencia CF though and lost. I got to hand it to the coach Nuno Santos who obviously studied Real Madrid really meticulously and took notice of the chips in their armor and was able to utilize that to our advantage.

The match started with Valencia CF pressing high up the pitch and fighting for every ball, in my match preview I predicted a low defensive line, similar to Barcelona where the team held the position, but this time it was high pressure all over the pitch and that caught Real Madrid off guard, they didn't expect such a strong start and Valencia CF were mostly in control of the game.

Despite the good start for Valencia CF it was Real Madrid who scored the first goal through Cristiano Ronaldo from the penalty spot. Negredo supposedly played with his hand in the penalty area and the referee instantly awarded the penalty which Cristiano Ronaldo has no problems converting.

Both sides were now fighting for control of the match and neither team really had strong chances. Gaya came in for Piatti early on in the second half and was threatening the left wing constantly though, he was playing with such pace and he seemed as the best attacker for Valencia CF for most of the time.

Gareth Bale would have a big chance for Real Madrid when he was alone on goal, but he missed his shot and Andre Gomes hit the post for Valencia CF in the dying moments of the first half, the ball rebounded but Valencia CF attackers were not fast enough to capitalize on the chance.

In the second half the match was fairly equal, with Enzo Perez and Parejo really covering well in midfield and passing the ball really accurately and intelligently, while Gomes played a little higher up the pitch and was causing Real Madrid all sorts of problems with his long range shots and dribbling skills.

Valencia CF would equalize in the 52nd minute through Barragan who released a powerful shot that found its way into the back on the net on an assist from Jose Luis Gaya. This goal would give Valencia CF the boost that they needed and now the team could play with less pressure on them. This showed as Valencia CF were the better team in the following 10 minutes and Valencia CF would manage to score another goal, this time through Nicolas Ottamendi who headed a corner kick cross into the net.

Antonio Barragan has another scoring chance a little later on, but his famous terrible crossing and shooting hadn't left him and he shot the ball wide off of the goal. Thankfully this blunder didn't cost the team as Real Madrid had a big chance to score on their own, but this time it was Sergio Ramos who headed wide.

Real Madrid would attack exclusively in the last 10 minutes of the match, but Valencia's defense would hold hard and strong and they were able to repel and block most of Madrid's attacks. They did have few chances to score, but Valencia CF were able to hold.

Technical Details:
Valencia CF: Diego Alves, Shkodran Mustafi, Lucas Orban, Nicolás Otamendi, Enzo Pérez, Antonio Barragán (Sofiane Feghouli, m. 72), Pablo Piatti (José Gayà, m. 22), Dani Parejo, André Gomes, Álvaro Negredo (Rodrigo, m. 78), Paco Alcácer.

Real Madrid: Casillas, Carvajal, Pepe, S. Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos, Isco, James (Khedira, m. 70), Bale (Jesé, m. 70), Ronaldo, Benzema (Chicharito, m. 78).

Goals:
Cristianlo Ronaldo 0-1(p.g), 14 min.
Antonio Barragan 1-1, 52 min.
Nicolas Otamendi 2-1, 65 min.

Player Ratings: 
Diego 7.5 - Made 2 key saves to prevent the team from conceding and was generally secure in his goalkeeping.
Barragan 8 - Crucial player tonight for Valencia CF as he caused all sorts of problems for Real Madrid with his running and he managed to score the equalizer. Could have had more goals as well if he was a bit more composed.
Mustafi 7 - Solid defending throughout, made few important interceptions and some good headers to clear danger.
Otamendi 8.5 - Rock solid at the back, had some key blocks to prevent what would have been clear goals and threatening from corners, as he scored the winning goal for Valencia CF.
Orban 7 - Had overall a good showing, he dealt with the threat coming from Bale easily, but he still does seem suspect at times, especially when he is under pressure.
Enzo 7.5 - For a player who's just joined the team just 4 days ago he did play as if he's been with the team for months, just goes to show how good and versatile the player is. Immensely good defensive work, full of running, provided some good passes and interplay with Parejo and this is a perfect debut for him.
Parejo 7.5 - Did well overall, but was slow off the start, unsure at times and was overshadowed by his fellow midfielders. Did provide the assist for the winning goal though through his corner kick so points for that.
Gomes 7.5 - Really threatening with his dribbles and movement, had few good long range shots on goal, one hit the post and one just went slightly wide, provided spaces for the other players to exploit.
Paco 6.5 - Didn't have the most service and was covered well by Real defenders, but was running intelligently.
Negredo 6.5 - A bit more effective than Paco as his sheer physical presence is enough, he provided a big glaring threat and came deep to get the ball.
Piatti N/A - Substituted early with an injury.
Subs:
Gaya 8 - Amazing offensive skills. He was just full of energy, lightning pace and willing runner on that left wing. His constant running was causing all sorts of problems for the opposition and he managed to score an assist for the equalizer.
Feghouli 6.5 - Replaced Barragan and it was going to be a tough job matching his contribution, he did well though, but in his time he was mostly relegated to defending, so his offensive contributions were limited, but helped out defensively immensly.
Moreno N/A - Not enough time.

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