Usually I like to chill out a bit after watching the game and write it up after reflection, however needs must means it is now or never. So Rayo win the toss of the coin and choose the end for their keeper that is not still in the sun. Usually not an important issue, I say usually.
Valencia go on the attack right from the kick off and unlike previous games recently look really lively and batter away at the Rayo defence. It would be no exaggeration to say we should have had 3 goals in the first 10 minutes. Time after time the Rayo goal was threatened but time after time shots went wide or were miss kicked. Negredo and Piatti were in the starting eleven giving a change look and it seemed to be working well with Rodrigo on the right flank looking really dangerous cutting in on his favoured left foot. However the unbelievable happened on the 19th minute when a harmless looking shot from Embarba looked to be an easy catch for Alves but with the sun in his eyes he allowed the ball to squirm through his hands for the easiest goal Rayo will score in many seasons.
This understandably seemed to rattle Valencia and for a while the passes were going astray and players were being caught in possession.
Eventually though Valencia started to find the form that has taken us to the top part of the league and the difference in class began to tell. The game could not be criticized for incident and excitement with both teams going all out for the three points.
In the second half Feghouli replaces Piatti and things would take a turn for the better in the 62nd minute for Valencia when Morcillo was sent off for taking the legs away from Andre Gomez when he was clean through on goal to give Valencia a free kick on the edge of the area. The way the game had gone for us Gomez would probably not have scored anyway so the free kick was welcome. Danny Parejo steps up though and blasts the ball through the wall to put the game back on level terms 4 minutes later. Game on now.
Valencia continued to dominate but it was not all one way and the home team had a few opportunities. Parejo was then unlucky when his low shot hits the bottom of the post and bounces off the keeper for a corner. In the 70th minute Parejo replaces the injured Mustafi to partner Negredo up front. Then it was the turn for Rodrigo to come to the attention of the referee. After clattering with the keeper and being elbowed in the face he decides to trip him up. The foul looked hardly deserving of a red but that was what he got. Disappointing as this ref, I have noticed is very lenient in letting play continue without using cards but on this occasion again we seem to get the harsh decision when he could have also sent off the keeper.
In the final stages Valencia continued to attack but the home team held out for a point and it was the home fans whistling for the final whistle to be blown as they knew they were fortunate to earn anything from the game.
Conclusion A really entertaining game but a disappointing final result. Still leaves us 4th above Sevilla on goal difference
Alves 6 Unfortunate with the slip that ultimately cost the points but made a good save to keep us level
Barragan 6.5 Showing signs of improvement and stability
Mustafi 6.5 Picked up an injury but looked solid when called on
Otamendi 6.5 His usual solid self and made some telling tackles
Gaya 6.5 Relatively quiet game and seems to have things on his mind
Perez 6.0 Really quiet game tonight
Gomes Earned the free kick for the goal but not at his best
Piatti 6.0 Needs to get his sharpness and fitness back
Parejo 7.0 Good game tonight and was the most busy in the midfield and took his goal well and unlucky when he hit the post
Negredo 6.5 Missed some good chances early on and faded a bit in the second half. But at times showed his class.
Rodrigo 7.0 Really lively in the first half and unlucky a few times, but we say that every week
Feghouli 6.0 Largely inefective
Alcacer 6.0 Didn't really get in the game
De Paul 6.5 Looked the best of the subs and deserves a start
SORRY A BIT RUSHED TODAY