I guess when you are fighting relegation, two nil down with 20 minutes to go, the last thing you want to see is the sight of Negredo coming on, but more on that later. Despite the word coming out of the Valencia camp that there was no talk of revenge I don't think too many people actually believed that after the 3 points dropped in the away game earlier in the season.
The game started off lively enough for the home side and a pinpoint cross from Feghouli on the right finds Paco Alcacer to slot home. Amazingly, Valencia are once again cheated by the officials when the goal is ruled out for offside. When is this injustice going to end ? Fortunately soon after Alcacer puts things right heading in from another great cross from the right from Parejo to make it 1-0 in the 16th minute.
The next goal was not long coming and in the 36th minute a fine cross from Orban on the left was headed in by Feghouli to make the score look a bit more respectable. I like to try to be unbiased and it has to be said that this goal should have been ruled out due to Orban being in an offside position when he took the pass but I guess it just proves that the officials are not biased, just bad.
Vezo was filling in for the suspended Otamendi and surprisingly Cancelo was in for Barragan at the right back position and with Parejo back and Orban in at left back givng the team an exciting attacking look. Feghouli and Cancelo were working together really well and giving the Levante defence nightmares with their interplay. Also on the other flank, Rodrigo and Orban were working really well together and with Parejo and Gomez bossing the midfield the team looked very balanced.
Alves was called upon a number of times in keeping out a number of long shots that certainly would have troubled lesser goalkeepers more. Levante could not get through the solid home defence and resorted to long range efforts.
After 65 minutes De Paul and Barragan came on for Gomez and Fehouli with Barragan taking right back pushing Cancelo forward. On 73 minutes Negredo comes on for Alcacer.
Then comes possibly the highlight of an evening with many other high points for Valencia when a great ball from the right finds Negredo on the edge of the box with 2 players marking him. He brushes them off, shielding the ball before unleashing months of pent up fury by firing past the hapless Marino to end a great evening. He hardly celebrated the goal, as if to say to everybody, 'This is what I can do when given the right ball'.
Summary. A great night for Valencia but another nail in the coffin for our brothers up the road who now look in serious trouble. To be fair, apart from a few long shots they looked as if they did not believe they had any chance of winning and the scoreline could and should have been more emphatic.
Unfortunate bookings for Negredo and Mustafi for dissent and Parejo the only downers to the night.
Alves 7.5 Always difficult to rate when he does not have much to do but made some great saves when called upon and never really looked like he would concede.
Cancelo 8.5 My man of the match and I am pleased that Nuno has been reading my opinions on here and finally seeing how much better than Barragan he is. An amazing performance and looks worth the fee being asked
Vezo 8.0 A high mark, I know but I thought he also fitted in well and made some great interceptions. He has never let the team down and talk of him going out on loan next season from some people seems to me ridiculous, he is Valencia and must stay here.
Mustafi 7.5 Another solid performance from the BMW who seems like a veteran despite his young age.
Orban 7.5 Great performance again and is covering well for Gaya in his absence. A really versatile player who could play almost anywhere and not look out of place
Fuego 7.0 A player that is not always noticed as he does the simple things without fuss and hardly makes a mistake, very underated player.
Parejo 7.5 Forming a great midfield partnership now with Gomez. Some critism earlier in the season with people saying they can't play together but that has certainly been shown to be wrong now. He always seems to be able to find his passes effortlessly.
Gomez 7.0 Another great game and such a skillful player, just needs to get a few more goals.
Feghouli 7.5 A fine game and ran the opposing defenders ragged interlinking with Cancelo and left the field with a well deserved ovation when substituted. Good to see him score
Rodrigo 7.0 Certainly a player with no shortage of skills, in my opinion we have not seen the best of him yet with his finishing and he will definitely improve and be a top player for us I am sure. Needs a bit of luck in front of goal.
Alcacer 7.5 Great goal and good to see him on the scoresheet again always works hard for the team and causes panic when he is anywhere near the opponents goal.
De Paul 7.0 Unlucky not to start after his performance last week but a very important part of the squad and has shown what he is capable of.
Barragan 7.0 Did a good job covering for Cancelo allowing him to get forward but to me should be second choice.
Negredo 7.5 I really believe we are going to start seeing the real Negredo now in the later part of the season. It has been a long time coming but he looks a real beast when he comes on and the goal would have done wonders for his moral and confidence.
Valencia: Diego Alves, Joâo Cancelo, Mustafi, Vezo, Orban, Javi Fuego, Parejo, André Gomes (De Paul, m.65), Feghouli (Barragán, m.65), Rodrigo y Paco Alcácer (Negredo, m.73).
Levante: Mariño, Morales, Vyntra, Ramis, Toño (Iván López, m.46), Simao, José Mari, El Zhar (Uche, m.58), Víctor Casadesús, Ivanschitz (Rubén, m.73) Barral.
Goals: 1-0, m.16: Paco Alcácer. 2-0, m.36: Feghouli. 3-0, m.92: Negredo.
Yellow cards Mustafi, Parejo y Negredo
Levante Ivanschitz, José Mari y Simao.