Friday, March 11, 2016
Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Valencia. Europa League
On a pitch that resembled a rice field rather than a football field, Valencia managed to come away with still a fighting chance of making it through to the next round of the Europa League.
Athletic started stronger without having all the play but it was them that went in front. Again, a needless free kick given away by Gaya which was hardly deserving but he got cheated into conceding it. How many times have I or we been complaining about needless free kicks given away in dangerous areas. Benat floated a ball to the near post for Garcia to head over Ryan in the Valencia goal.
The pitch situation was becoming ridiculous now making play almost impossible with huge puddles forming all over the pitch.. It was just a case of hacking the ball forward and hoping for someone to get on the end of it at times. However chances were being made at both ends with Aduriz missing two golden opportunities to put the home side in front but failing from close in.
THIS IS WORSE THAN BLOODY MANCHESTER
Abdennour and Mustafi were having good games in the Valencia defence for most of the time and Abdennour in particular was still trying to play the ball out instead of hoofing it. Rodrigo had two or three good chances to reply but on each occasion found himself with the ball on his weaker right foot and was unable to finish.
Ryan came to the rescue a number of times and justified his inclusion at the expense of Jaume for the unwell Alves. Adruriz could have settled to tie in the final minutes when put through by a long clearance but proved he is only human by blasting the ball over the bar, much to the relief of the Valencia players to keep the tie alive.
Piatti was replaced by Gomes on 70 mins and Alcacer for Parejo on 82 mins. The final sub was Feghouli for Rodrigo an 86 mins.
The game finished in favour of the home team but still invites another great night at the Mestalla next week. The previous league encounters will have no baring on this match and although it will be a big test, if the crowd get onside there is no reason why Valencia shouldn't go through and face a big name in the next round like Liverpool. We can only dream.
Ryan 7 Made some great saves in very difficult conditions and always looked secure. will he play against Levante on Sunday, How can he not ?
Barragan 6 Defended quite well and was obviously told not to go charging forward tonight as he contributed little in attack.
Mustafi 7 A great game and on the end of most things although caught out one time when the ball just beat him to present Aduriz with a clear shot.
Abdenour 7 I am so glad to see him back and showing again what a class player he is. I just hope he and Mustafi are fit for the Levante game.
Gaya 6.5 A good game and looked calm in the awful conditions.
Parejo 6.0 Not his type of game with the conditions and was a little out of the game for periods unable to produce his deft touches and passes.
Fuego 6.0 Was overun a few times but had one decent shot that was just wide
Danilo 5.5 Should have been a game to suit his style of play where finesse is not the order of the day but failed yet again to justify the ridiculous price tag on him.
Rodrigo 6.0 Presented with chances but failed to get the valuable away goal due to being on his weaker foot. When is he going to click and start scoring.
Negredo 6.0 Just his normal game, held the ball up well a few times but failed to make any real impact on the game.
Piatti 6.0 The conditions should have suited the little fella more with his low centre of gravity but as usual he was bullied off the ball too much, but had a good break and made a few good forward passes.
Gomes No real impact
Alcacer No real impact
Feghouli No real impact