Sunday, December 9, 2012

CA Osasuna 0-1 Valencia CF Match Report

Valencia CF just recorded its first away win this season in what was a very interesting match and a great start to the coaching position for Ernesto Valverde who records his first win with Valencia CF, hopefully just one of many, many, many more.

While no one was expecting miracles and we certainly didn't get them, the team overall played much better, much improved than over our several last matches, in fact so much so that we had several chances in the first half and few good chances in the second half as well.

Valencia CF mostly controlled the match in the first half, though it was a close back and forth game and neither team were able to overpower the other team. Adil Rami started the match with his mind some place else, making two big blunders one after another and was lucky to escape unpunished, but he soon collected his thoughts and improved in his game.

Valencia CF have obviously missed David Albelda in the previous matches with Pellegrino in charge as today and even last match against Lille it was really obvious that we had a holding midfielder. In fact based just on the last 2 games I'd say he should probably get one more year contract extension as he is clearly still capable and able to do his job. He broke up countless Osasuna attacks and shielded the defense perfectly.

Ricardo Costa was also on point from the start making few crucial interceptions and blocks in the middle of the park and was generally solid throughout the match. Barragan was also having a good match, bombing forward on every occasion and linking up well with Piatti and Ever Banega.

The team has several chances in the first half, two decent chances for Soldado who did make good runs, but was just inaccurate  placing one shot for example wide and above while one on one with the goalkeeper, though the position was pretty wide and hard to shoot from.  Feghuoli also found himself with two decent chances, but he was slow to react and didn't do much, though he had a pass to Tino Costa who was in a good position and shot towards goal, but it went wide.

The biggest problem in the first half was that Feghuoli was playing at left wing, though he kept coming and playing in the center and right wing and was overcrowding that space there, while there wasn't anyone on the left to penetrate from that side.

Ever Banega also had a good match, providing some good passes and moving the ball forward and spreading it out well, though he did have several misplaced passes as Osasuna were pressing hard and had a high defensive line, quickly closing down Valencia CF players.

Second half started and Osasuna did improve a little, showing more initiative, though similarly to the first half most of the match was played in the middle of the park with many mistakes on both sides and play in the air.

Ultimately Tino Costa would start a good action, releasing Pablo Piatti on the left side, who switched positions with Feghuoli and even though his cross was actually terrible for Soldado it did hit the post and the rebound found its way to Soldado who was quick to react and score a goal. It wasn't the best of chances, but I'm sure everyone will take it.

Osasuna did get more organized towards the middle and late of the second half, mounting counter initiative and started controlling most of the possession, though Valencia was playing high pressure football as well, closing down the Osasuna players fast and Albelda was in superb mode, blocking several buildups and counters from occurring.

Osasuna players would have one good chance to score somewhere around the 70th minute, when I believe Puñal shot, but Diego Alves was aware and reacted well, blocking the ball from going into the net with a powerful parade.

In the meantime Valencia CF coach Ernesto Valverde made few changes, bringing in Viera for Piatti, though this would turn out a bad move as Viera was rather quiet and inefficient. Later on he would bring on Gago for Ever Banega, but Gago instantly got injured and was forced off just 2 minutes after he came in and Daniel Parejo took his place.

Towards the final whistle both teams had good chances to score, though neither would be able to. Valencia CF specifically missed two rather good chances, first one Soldado shooting and Fernandez saving, the rebound went to Feghuoli, but it was deemed that he was offside and the second one yet again a chance by Soldado.

Overall it was a very good first match and a great, positive start for Valencia CF new coach Ernesto Valverde and I hope he will have a great time with Valencia CF and move the team in the right direction and have us fighting for Champions League position once again.

Technical Details:
CA Osasuna (0): Andrés Fernández, Flaño (Lolo, min. 46), Echaide (Cejudo, min. 60), Armenteros, Puñal, Llorente (Onwu, min.67), Arribas, Oier, Lamah, Raoul Loé y Damià.
Valencia CF (1): Diego Alves, Rami, Albelda, Feghouli, Soldado, Éver (Gago, min. 77, Dani Parejo, min. 83), Piatti (Viera, min. 58), Barragán, Guardado, Ricardo Costa y Tino Costa.
Goals: 0-1 54min, Soldado.

Player Ratings:
Diego Alves 6 - Didn't have too much work, but he was stretched once and made a great save. Did well in the air as well, though this time he really lacked accuracy in his kicks, giving the ball away with poor shots.
Barragan 6.5 - Defended well and bomber forward at every opportunity, combining well in the first half with Piatti and providing few decent crosses and passes in the penalty area.
Rami 6 - Awful start and lucky he didn't gave away a goal, by making 2 suspect decisions and passes. Improved soon after and ended on a good note, winning most of the air duels.
R. Costa 6.5 - Very secure from the start, made few blocks at the middle of the park and generally dealt with everything that came his way.
Guardado 5.5 -Secure defensive display, was let down by the forward players few times, though didn't do much going forward, although he lacked a left winger on his side for most of the match.
Albelda 7.5 - Rock solid sitting deep and blocking many of Osasuna attacks. Mopped up in the middle and quickly played the ball to the more forward midfielders.
Tino Costa 6.5 - Very active and put a lot of pressure on Osasuna players, generally being a thorn in their sight. Wasn't very active on the ball, though he did have some defense splitting passes and he started the chance that lead to the goal by releasing Piatti.
Feghuoli 5.5 - Found himself in good positions and had some good chances to either score or provide an assist, but failed to do so. Was active in the first half, but he was rather invisible in the second half and even though still had some decent chances he lacked the final ball.
Banega 6.5 - Had several misplaced passes in what was a slower start, but improved as the game went on and brought the ball from the back forward, making some good passes and interceptions as well. Generally a good game.
Piatti 6.5 - Was very active in the first and second half, always a willing runner and this payed off when his cross-shot-lucky ball hit the post and rebounded to Soldado who scored.
Soldado 7 - Made several good runs and had few shots on goal, failed to find the back of the net from at least 2 good positions and one decent one, but he did ultimately score.
Viera 4 - Completely invisible since coming on, failing to do anything really.
Gago N/A - Got injured within 2 minutes of his arrival on the pitch.
Parejo N/A - Didn't have much time to influence the game.