It all started so well with Valencia on the attack and looking good in possession taking the game to Celta.
But as we all know football can be a cruel game and in the 7th minute Celta won a corner. Nolito puts in a dangerous cross for Pablo Hernandez to out jump and out wit the home defence to power a header past Alves in off a post. This was a major blow to Valencia and suddenly Champions League football seemed a little bit further away. The goal boosted Celta and understandably rattled the Valencia players. We seemed to ease off the pressure with the concern that if they got another goal it would be a mountain to climb to get the 3 goals we would have required for a win. It really was nail biting stuff and the atmosphere in the stadium was electric. With Celta having nothing to play for other than their pride and win bonus they seemed far more relaxed than us.
There were chances at both ends with Feghouli, Fuego and Gomes having chances to put us back on the level but they were unable to finish. Otamendi was unlucky when his header crashed against the crossbar from a freekick. It wasn't all one way either as Celta could have made it even harder for us on a number of occasions. Gomes had to retire before the break with a thigh muscle injury to be replaced by Enzo Perez and the teams went in at the break with the solitary goal separating them.
The news was filtering through that Sevilla were also losing at home, to Almeria but it was scant consolation really as we needed the win. De Paul replaced Piatti on 58 minutes and not before time and then Mustafi went off for Negredo for us to revert to 3 at the back. This gave an immediate boost to the team and it was not long before we were back in the game. A free kick a long way out by Parejo was fumbled by the keeper and that man Otamendi was there to stab it home. Game on.
So all we need to do now is get another goal and Champions League is secured. Unfortunately this is the real world and news from Seville of them getting 2 goals back and our inability to finish chances mean the we have to sweat it out now for 6 more days for our trip to Almeria.
Conclusion. Their early goal really unnerved us tonight but we played well to try to fight back for the equaliser. I still believe we will win next week to secure our place in the Champions League. It should be an amazing tense game with Almeria needing to win to remain in the La Liga but we should prove too strong for them. Football is about tension and drama and Valencia are certainly giving us our fair share this season. It has been a great season for us and with all the new young players still gaining experience and the new manager we have done amazing. Lets just hope we can finish off on a high with a good win.
Alves 6.5 Not much to do and unlucky with the goal coming off the post but made some good saves when called upon.
Barragan 6.0 Too many mistakes but saved the day on one occasion getting back to prevent a good scoring opportunity.
Mustafi 6.5 Did his usual job without fuss but was replaced to make way for Negredo to add more punch up front.
Otamendi 8.0 M.O.M Another outstanding performance, scoring one goal and could have had 2 more with a bit more luck. The real star of the show today.
Gaya 7.0 Got forward well and got some good crosses in but nobody in the right places to finish them off.
Fuego 6.5 Has a chance in the first half and apart from that played his usual average game.
Parejo 6.5. Frustrating player sometimes. At times he looks world class and other times gives away too many silly balls and gets caught in possession too much. Is he our main man next season or is he replaced. When he plays well we play well but when not, neither do we.
Gomes 6.0 Very skillful player but still lacks the killer final ball and the finishing instincts that we need
Piatti 5.5 We didn't see too much of him and it was no surprise when he was withdrawn for De Paul. The only surprise was it took so long. Definitely not one of his better games.
Feghouli 6.0 Flashes of brilliance but missed good chances and put over some poor crosses at times.
Alcacer 6.0 A player who needs the early ball put in to him but is not making his own chances at all. Also wins nothing much in the air from our goal kicks and when Gomes and Negredo are not there the ball just keeps coming back.
De Paul 7.0 Really livened things up when he came on and always links well with Negredo. Surely he and Negredo have to start against Almeria. Come on Nuno be brave.
Perez 7.0 Also looked more lively when he came on and put some bite into the play but just needs to curb his aggression a little bit as he always looks like he is going to foul.
Negredo 7.0 Has to start next week. He gets too much criticism for his mistakes and misses but I would rather he play for us than against us.
Valencia: Alves, Barragán, Mustafi (Negredo, m.69), Otamendi, Gayà, Javi Fuego, Parejo, André Gomes (Enzo Pérez, m.34), Feghouli, Piatti (De Paul, m.58) y Paco Alcácer.
Celta Vigo: Sergio, Hugo Mallo, Cabral, Fontás, Jonny, Álex López (Sergi Gómez, m.80), Krohn-Dehli, Orellana, Hernández (Borja Fernández, m.60), Nolito y Larrivey (Charles, m.86).
Goals Pablo Hernadez 7 mins Otamendi 71 mins
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