It's a sign of the decent progress made by Valencia this year that a failure to win at home against Sevilla, one of the best teams in La Liga this season, feels like a bit of a disappointment. Ultimately, both teams fought well and cancelled each other out, with limited clear chances and some awful refereeing, whistling for non-existent fouls, allowing some to go unpunished and getting at least 2 big calls wrong. When is the best league in the world going to employ good referees? I don't see as many dodgy calls being made in the English premier.
Voro made two changes. Orellana was recalled after being dropped for the previous game and replaced Mina, while Enzo recovered his usual place in the squad at the expense of Medran. Also significant was that Lato continue at left back instead of Siquiera. Sevilla had most of the early possession without doing much and Valencia had a couple of chances. In the first, Zaza went for an acrobatic effort from a Munir cross when the simpler option might have worked better. In the second after we'd intercepted well in midfield, Zaza's shot was blocked and Orellana hit a good strike which Rico did well to tip over. A few minutes later, VCF got lucky. Enzo got caught out trying to dribble out of defence leaving Jovetic one-on-one with Alves. He placed it past him well, but fortunately the ball rebounded off the post into Alves' arms.
One of the first controversies of the game came after. Montoya made a great run down the right and almost scored. Munir's header from the rebound was cleared off the line
Did it cross? For me just about no, but we rarely get close calls like that in our favour.
The game got a bit scrappy after that, with lots of free kicks as both sides struggled to break the other down. Zaza had a couple of half chances but shot over. In the 55th minute there was more controversy. Zaza was bundled down in the box. This was the type of incident that would be given as a penalty more often than not but the useless referee waved it away. Seemingly keen to annoy both sets of supporters, he then got another big call wrong. Alves produced a moment of madness, handling well outside his area from a dangerous attack. Most refs would have sent him off for a professional foul, but instead the ref decided to book a Sevilla player for protesting (!) The controversy wasn't over. From a corner, Zaza scored but the goal was ruled out for handball. He did admit in the post-match interview that it had hit his hand but that had been close to his body. Again a decision which we don't get in our favour.
Valencia pressed better in the second half, but the stalemate continued and even a few offensive substitutions late on failed to change things.
Overall, bit of a shame that we couldn't keep the winning run going, however, there are still positives from the game, keeping a clean sheet and overall, a decent performance against a tough team. Also of note, with Granada's defeat yesterday: Valencia are now mathematically safe from relegation, with Gijon 18 points behind with inferior head-to-head.
Alves 5 - didn't impress me yesterday and was lucky not to get sent off
Lato 6.5 - a good game, did well in defence and put in a few dangerous crosses, my only worry is that his emergence will encourage the club to sell Gaya
Mangala 6 - got caught out of position on a couple of occasions but offered a good aerial presence
Garay 6.5 - good game in defence
Montoya 7.5 - another good game, solid in defence and a threat in attack, we did well to get this guy for free
Enzo 5 - wasn't impressed, he looked out of sorts and nearly gifted them a goal
Parejo 5.5 - not the force he could have been and dallied on the ball too often
Soler 6 - seemed to be operating more down the right, when the centre seems his better position
Munir 6 - misused on the wing, again, seems to do better through the centre
Zaza 7 - worked hard as ever but his shooting can be a bit wayward
Orellana 6 - did better than previous games and linked up well with the front men
Cancelo 6.5 - good to see him being applauded after coming on
Nani 5 - good to see him back, but looked rusty, will need more games to reach match fitness
Mina N/A - not enough time