Valencia CF won a very important match against Sevilla FC, one that brings Valencia CF ahead of Sevilla on the table, gives the advantage to Valencia CF in the head to head matches in case both teams finish with the same points at the end of the season and more importantly as I've already written in the match preview this win gives Valencia CF the mental advantage.
This loss is Sevilla's fourth loss against the bigger teams, they've managed to win against most smaller teams, but they've lost to pretty much all top teams, so this goes in their heads a little bit and creates an inferiority complex for them. They are also in more competitions than Valencia CF, in fact a lot more competitions and this creates a better position for Valencia CF to reach the champions league spots over Sevilla. While they will be tired battling on three fronts, Valencia CF only has to focus on the Spanish league and reaching that champions league spot.
As far as the match tonight it was a very tough match for Valencia CF, both teams are similarly matched, but in different aspects. As suspected Valencia CF were again weak in the midfield portion, while Sevilla were particularly strong in that aspect.
The match was fairly equal in all aspects at the start, in fact Valencia CF had the more dangerous attacks, and even had two claims for penalties in the first 10 minutes of the match, but the referee waved play on on both of those. In the 18th minute though Negredo would go down in the penalty area and the referee finally blew the whistle and awarded Valencia CF the penalty.
Daniel Parejo took to the spot to take the penalty and his shot was in the opposite direction of where the goalkeeper jumped and he scored, giving Valencia CF the 1-0 lead.
After this lead Sevilla FC would reorganize and take the control in midfield, in fact they started gaining possession little by little and ultimately reached something like 60% over Valencia's 40% possession. For all their possession and midfield control they basically only had one opportunity that arrived from Alves error and it would be Valencia CF that would score again to make it 2-0.
Sevilla had a foul awarded to them, they took the free kick, it was a poor ball and from there on Enzo Perez would start a run, got close to Sevilla's own third and passed the ball to Parejo on the left who was clear on goal and his shot was accurate and went into the net to make it 2-0 for Valencia CF.
The celebrations would be short lived though as Sevilla FC had a penalty awarded to them just few minutes later. In fact it was Parejo who would cause the penalty by making a late and clumsy challenge in the penalty area, one which if he had not made it, it wouldn't have been dangerous for Valencia's goal. It was just a poor challenge and the referee awared the penalty kick.
Carlos Bacca took to the spot and much like Parejo's penalty spot his shot was in the opposite direction of where Diego Alves jumped and it was a goal for Sevilla, making it 2-1 and giving them a chance to get back into the game.
There was barely few minutes played again and Sevilla were rewarded a second penalty, this time due to a foul by Cancelo. If the first Sevilla penalty was clear, this one was not. In fact it seemed like it was way too harsh, there was small contact, but usually this is a play on situation.
Anyways Bacca would take to the spot once again having beaten Diego Alves once again, he was looking to beat him again and equalize the score for Sevilla. He shot to the left side of the goal and this time Alves jumped in the right direction and saved the penalty. He is not considered a penalty specialist for nothing after all.
That was pretty much the end of the first half.
The second half brought out a more organized Valencia CF side in the midfield, the area which they lost quite bad to Sevilla in the first half. So clearly the talk and directions Nuno gave the team worked and we saw Valencia CF retain the ball for more than just few second at a time. In the first half the ball would be lost within 5 second, now the ball was retained longer and the team managed to scramble more passes together.
This new found strength in midfield would result in Valencia CF attacking with more purpose and better organized, which also took pressure off the defense, which at that point needed some stability. With more attacks going Valencia's way it was Rodrigo Moreno who received the ball on the left wing, he moved forward, dribbled past two players, cut inside the center of the penalty area and found Javi Guego alone and unmarked, Fuego had a clear shot on goal and he would not miss the shot, releasing a powerful and accurate shot that went into the net and increased Valencia's lead to 3-1.
After this Sevilla reorganized once again, gained back control of the midfield and started attacking constantly again. Their main man was Deulofeu who was giving Valencia trouble all match long on that left side. Gaya was doing good defensively, but when he went forward and was coming back there would be a little bit of space.
Otamendi would also have a rather big error as he was running towards a fast moving through ball he reached out with his leg to block the ball, but he completely missed it, allowing Deulofeu to run past him, get the ball, and manage a shot past Gaya, but only into Diego Alves hands.
Unai Emery made few changes to try and save the match, taking out a defender and bringing in Kevin Gameiro in, but ultimately it proved too little, too late and Valencia CF managed to hold onto their 3-1 lead, actually having few more good chances as well to increase the result.
Valencia CF: Diego Alves, Joao Cancelo, Nicolas Otamendi, Skhodran Mustafi, José Gayà, Javi Fuego, Dani Parejo, Enzo Pérez, André Gomes (Lucas Orban, m. 78), Rodrigo (Rodrigo de Paul, m. 88), Álvaro Negredo (Paco Alcácer, m. 83).
Sevilla FC: Beto, Coke, Carriço, Nicolas Pareja (Iago Aspas, m. 79), Diogo, Krychowiak, Iborra, Éver Banega, Deulofeu, Vitolo (Denis Suárez, m. 65), Bacca (Gameiro, m. 70).
Daniel Parejo 1-0 (p.g), 19 min.
Daniel Parejo 2-0, 33 min. Assist Enzo Perez
Carlos Bacca 2-1 (p.g), 36 min.
Javi Fuego 3-1, 55 min. Assist Rodrigo Moreno
Diego 6.5 - Had a shaky start, missing a clear punch to the ball and creating a chance for Sevilla, beaten for the first penalty kick, though went on to make a great penalty save several minutes later and kept Valencia CF in the lead. Had few more more casual saves later on.
Cancelo 7 - Complete performance from the young right back, really impressive stuff if I may say so myself. Defensively solid, dealt with everything at the back and was great going forward, causing occasional trouble for Sevilla. Unlucky to get a penalty awarded against him.
Mustafi 7 - Should pass quicker, could have made a blunder again like in previous game where he got a red card, lucky to get away with it. Apart from that some solid defending and great interceptions.
Otamendi 7 - Back to his best once again, great physical presence, no nonsense defending from him, though he did have one error in the second half, if that was to be a goal it would have negated 1.5 points from his score.
Gaya 7 - Had to deal with Deulofeu all match long and was fairly good dealing with him, certainly preventing clear chances, though Deulofeu was Sevilla's most dangerous player and constantly caused problems on the left side. Offensively another super performance, good passing, crosses, moving the team forward.
Fuego 8 - Great all round performance, defensively very solid, organized the midfield, had some good blocks in the final third and scored Valencia's third goal.
Parejo 7 - As always had some wayward passes and silly moves, but kept possession better than anyone else and his defensive contribution was big this match.
Enzo 7 - Similar performance to Parejo, couldn't quite play a passing game and some of his forward moves were blocked, but worked hard defensively.
Gomes 7.5 - The danger man for Valencia CF and really the only player who felt really secure and oozed confidence when he had the ball at his feet. Easily dribbled past Sevilla players time and time again and started several dangerous attacks, managed to always retain and then pass the ball.
Moreno 8 - The second most dangerous man for Valencia CF, initiated two good chances, one of which resulted in a goal where he provided the assist for and had few opportunities for himself as well, shooting few times, though unfortunately his shots were mostly blocked.
Negredo 6 - Managed to get the penalty for Valencia CF and provided a body in the penalty area that Sevilla had to worry about, but didn't quite hit the mark. He had some missed opportunities to do more.
Orban N/A - Not enough time
Paco N/A - Not enough time
De Paul N/A - Not enough time