I read that Rapid Vienna prepare with statistics very thoroughly before each match to give them the maximum benefit to enable them to win. Well, they didn't account for a young player having a very hit and miss season to destroy them like Santi Mina did last night. No statistics, thankfully, could have predicted the way he would destroy the Vienna team. They had already given Villareal 2 good games with a 2.2 aggregate score in the earlier round of the Europa League so they were no mugs. However, things were to change at the Mestallla.
Gary Neville said he would play one team tonight and a totally different team on Sunday against Granada which is great to give some players a breather. So with Ryan in goal and a back 4 of Cancello and Gaya fullbacks and Vezo and Santos centre backs. Danilo Parejo and Gomes. and Mina and Piatti out wide with Negredo as striker.
With a massive following of supporters cheering them on Rapid tried for an early goal. But it was not to be their night as Valencia went ahead when a great cross from Gomes found Santi Mina to slot the ball home to make it 1.0 in the 3rd minute. As if that wasn't enough, in the 9th minute he played a beautiful ball through for Parejo to easily score to make it 2.0.
Piatti got in on the act in the 24th minute when another great cross from the left again set up Mina for his second goal of the night. He wasn't finished there, after a great run down the right wing leaving a defender flat footed he put in a great cross to give Negredo a chance that he was not going to miss to make it an incredible 4.0. Then another great cross from the right saw Andrew Gomes drifting in on the far post to make the score 5.0 in 32 minutes. You had to feel a bit sorry for the large contingent of Austrians sitting high up in the stands after their long journey seeing their team totally taken to pieces, they looked stunned. They even had their captain substituted a few seconds before half time in a strange way, I guess it was a sign of the managers anger.
The teams went in at half time and I suddenly realised why many people around me were being extra friendly and giving me the thumbs up. Now it was cool again to be English, thanks Gary.
Five goals in the first half, Austrian statistics would now suggest a 10.0 win but we all know that isn't going to happen. Valencia naturally took their foot off the gas after the break and practiced their passing in a game situation. This was certainly an improvement and even Ryan had to come to the rescue at one time with a great save.
Barragan replaced Cancelo in the second half and even Javi Fuego came back to replace Dani Parejo with Rodrigo coming on for Gomes. Rodrigo was to have the last word when slipping home the ball under the hapless keeper after a great forward play from Vezo to make it a fantastic 6.0 on the night. Surely this round has been won and we can look forward to hopefully IMO an English Premier side or Italian team.
So how did we win 6.0 ? Easy, we passed the ball well and when we put over crosses they were ACCURATE and they were ON THE GROUND and not in the air. Also getting the early goal was important to help the team regain some confidence. I believe we have fantastic players who just need that guidance to make them a top team again. Gary said he is not getting over excited about this win and I totally agree but I see the team going in the right direction now. Happy 41st birthday Gary.
Ryan 6.5 Good save near the end and good ball distribution. Hard to score when he had so little to do.
Gaya 7 Had a good game and got forward a lot without compromising his defensive responsibility.
Santos 7 Looked solid and was never troubled by the Rapid forwards. Getting back to his old self now.
Vezo 7 This is his position, centre back. He is definitely not a right back and never will be. Had a couple of good runs forward and is gaining confidence again.
Cancelo 6.5 Had a good game but still looks a bit suspect in defence he was not really called upon to defend much tonight.
Parejo 7 Nice goal and together with Gomes bossed the midfield. wasn't really troubled too much
Gomes 7.5 Had some good defence splitting runs and scored a good goal.
Danilo 6.5 At times shows signs of a really top player but too many loose balls given away. He will gradually improve, I am sure.
Piatti 6.5 Showing some improvement on occasions recently and had a good game tonight making one goal.
Negredo 7 Worked hard again and got his 3rd goal in 3 games. A good player to have on your side with his strength height and experience.
Mina 10 I have to give him the top marks tonight for scoring 2 and making 3 goals. The best individual performance for the team since Cancelo scored a 10 a couple of months ago. The press are calling his performance the best in Europe this week and you can't say better than that.
Fuego 6.5 for Parejo 59 mins Did Ok but almost gave away a silly ball
Rodrigo 6.5 for Gomes 68 mins got the goal but not too much else. Needs to be on the left wing in my opinion.
Barragan 2 for Cancelo The only negative of the night, a truly terrible performance for the short time he was on. almost all his passes and throw ins went astray.
Gary Neville 8 Great team selection and substitutions and great way to celebrate your birthday. The team seems to be playing better now. Maybe also the new guy Pako is also helping the improvement. Look forward to Sunday's game and 3 more points.
Mina 4 mins Assist Gomes
Parejo 9 mins Assist Mina
Mina 25 mins Assist Piatti
Negredo 29 mins Assist Mina
Gomes 35 mins Assist Mina
Rodrigo 89 mins Assist Vezo
Yellow Card Cancelo