No updates for the last couple of games but I will try to catch up with what has been happening.
Firstly the Valencia CF v Villareal game on Sunday 5th April. A rather disappointing result as we all expect to win the home games against lower placed teams, which fortunately at the moment includes most of the other teams.
This was a game with few openings in the first half with neither side seemingly being able to construct any decent opportunities. The only incident of note was the booking of Parejo which puts him out of the next game against Athletic Club Bilbao. Negredo makes a late appearance and shows glimpses of what he is capable of and why we are paying the large fee for him. All in all though an easily forgetable game and the only consolation is the one point we gained. It could have been worse when Otamendi hesitated on a bouncy through ball which almost allowed Giovani Santos in for a gift goal but he handled the ball and was rightly booked.
Athletic Club Bilbao v Valencia CF Thursday 9th May
Starting the game without Parejo, who was replaced by Rodrigo it was almost a rerun of the previous game. Very scrappy first half with few chances and seeing Piatti retire with a muscle injury being replaced by De Paul. To make things worse Andre Gomez picks up a head injury after an elbow from his team mate Otamendi which required him to be turbanised. As for De Paul, for the first 20 minutes he looked like a player who had not played in the first team for a long while until suddenly finding his feet and putting in an amazing performance, He certainly looked like the best midfielder on the pitch and compounded it with a well taken goal after a pass from Orban. Again Negredo makes a late appearance replacing Alcacer and again played an important part in livening up the proceedings with his powerful runs.
Just when it looked like we would be coming home with the three points secure, the referee decided that he would like to gain some of the attention from the game. Otamendi going in for a fifty fifty ball was adjudged to have kicked the other player Mikel Jose on the leg. It seemed that both players went in with their feet high but because the Athletic players surrounded the referee he sent off our player. It was a strange situation in all ways because the ref had his red card out and waving it in front of an Athletic player whilst Otamendi was still on the ground and at first I thought he was sending him off. It is unusual for a ref to wave a card at a player who is still down. A very harsh decision and no doubt he was intimidated by the players and crowd. Also the 2 keepers were booked in the melee.
If that was not bad enough, a minute from the end Artitz Aduriz grabs an equaliser when he stabs the ball home from an obvious offside position denying Valencia the extra two points. Replays show that the linesman was in a perfect position to see the infringement and it has to be asked why the goal was not disallowed. We can all come up with conspiracy theories some say he is an Athletico Madrid supporter and born in Santander, isn't that in the Basque region, I am sure that has nothing to do with the fact that Athletic Bilbao is a Basque club. I am certain there are going to be more on this story in the coming weeks and even friends of mine in England have commented to me what a disgrace the offside goal and sending off was,
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