This was one of the worst games Valencia CF has ever played, at least in the past year or so, in fact the play was so bad that I think the first half ended without any sort of shots towards Gent's goal. The first half was completely dominated by KAA Gent, they had absolute control, they were the ones attacking all the time and Valencia CF could not even reach their goal.
KAA Gent had few chances to score, they had one early powerful shot that Jaume impressively saved, though the shot ultimately didn't matter as there was a foul called against them or something, don't understand what the call exactly was. Later on they had few shots in a row where they hit the post once and Jaume saving twice.
There is not much else to say, it was basically pure luck that Valencia CF didn't concede any goals in the first half and went on to half time with the scoreline of 0-0. Realistically though Valencia CF deserved to lose at that point, every metric, every statistic showed how dominant and better Gent were.
As soon as the second half started Gent would get their goal and it was thanks to a penalty that Barragan conceded. Sven Kums would step on to take it and his shot would find the back of the net.
Valencia CF coach Nuno had made a substitution to replace Santi Mina for Pablo Piatti, but that change had little difference and it wasn't until Nuno brought on Andre Gomes that Valencia CF started playing better and having a little bit more control and initiation in the midfield.
Valencia CF would manage two shots at goal in the second half, both of them blocked, one by Parejo and one by Paco. Those were the only chances that Valencia CF could muster up in basically 90 minutes. Sure the play was better in the second half once Gomes came in for Fuego, but it wasn't leaps and bounds better, it was a little bit better and chances were still at a premium.
Most of the play until the final whistle was sort of midfield battle and both teams losing the ball after few passes when trying to attack and back and forth like that until basically the end.
Normally I'm very supportive of the coach and coaches in the past as well, but this type of play is hard to watch and I can understand why so many fans want the coach out. It really looked like the team had no plan, no strategy, no tactics, no understanding on how to play, how to deal with Gent, how to approach the game. They all relied on individual skill and sort of basic instinctual football, but I did not sense any organized football, any tactical play. It seemed to me that Nuno fielded a squad to basically challenge Gent in an attacking sense, try and create as many chances, but once that failed there was no plan B to go to.
KAA Gent played way too aggressively and I think the referee was atrocious, I never mention referees unless they are obviously paid to make VCF lose and I've called out those referees all the time, but other than those cases I never mention it, its never been big enough deal, but tonight it was a big deal. KAA Gent were allowed to be as aggressive as they wanted, no warnings, no yellow cards, heck most of the challenges even went unpunished, as if that is normal football.
I love free flow and combative football, I find it most exciting, most interesting, most skill realistic and hate it when every touch is given as foul as if players are playing ballet and not football, but Gent players were playing Rugby tonight, they weren't playing football and the referee couldn't care less. They just rammed in all of the Valencia players and got away with it, but on the opposite side Valencia CF players were punished for just looking at the Gent players in an aggressive way. It was one of the most atrocious refereeing I have ever seen, paid referees aren't this terrible, that is how bad this referee was.
Ultimately instead of guaranteeing our move to the next round of the Champions league the team made it 10x times more difficult and actually gave Gent of all teams a chance to be the team that can move forward. Its just unbelievable how big of a failure this match was.
Jaume 6 - The only decent player tonight
Barragan 4 - Conceded the penalty and was seriously tested at the back, having quite a bad night.
Mustafi 5 - Had some good interceptions, but was beaten once for a header and once in a challenge, lucky they didn't result in goals.
Santos 6 - Marginally better than Mustafi and actually bailed him and his other defensive partners few times with good blocks and interceptions.
Gaya 5.5 - Relegated mostly to defending and coped okay, was caught out of position few times as he tried to push forward at times, though was dangerous when moving forward.
Fuego 3.5 - Don't really see his contribution in this match. Gent had several chances besides him and didn't provide any sort of attacking outlet at all.
Parejo 5 - Not really effective at controlling the midfield, had little help from any of the players though and the only other players he could find relatively frequent were Feghouli and Barragan.
Enzo 4 - Zero control in midfield, almost never available to receive a pass, didn't contribute anything of value.
Feghouli 6 - One of the few decent players this match, interplayed well enough with Parejo and Barragan, but was basically alone most of the time trying to penetrate the Gent midfield and defense.
Paco 5.5 - Can't fault him when he literally had zero opportunities created for him, the one shot he had he created for himself.
Mina 4 - Added nothing of value.
Piatti 4.5 - Maybe slightly better than Mina since he was able to hold to the ball better, but didn't add much more than that.
Gomes 6 - Added a bit more ruggedness and drive in the midfield, was able to better play with Parejo and the others and in general a big improvement over Fuego.
Cancelo N/A - Not enough time.