Sunday, July 28, 2013

Valencia CF 1-2 AC Milan Match Report

The first win eludes Valencia again in this pre-season under new coach Miroslav Djukic. Los Che played an amazing game but were just short by losing 1-2 to AC Milan at the Mestalla. The coach expressed earlier that the pre-season consisted of "experiments" and that the game against Milan will show the difference and indeed it did despite the result.

Miroslav Djukic re-introduced Rami into the starting line-up this game despite the transfer speculation and some controversial comments surrounding the player. Mathieu was reverted back to his left-back position. Valencia started the game with good pressing and maintaining possession of the ball. Mathieu was causing several problems for the opposing defense with his usual forward runs and crosses. However, at around 19 minutes into the game, a Milan attack found Guaita making an unnecessary tackle and the referee awarded a penalty to Milan. Fortunately, Guaita made up for his mistake by saving Robinho's penalty and Rami quickly put the ball out. However, Robinho also made up for his mistake two minutes later when a through ball found him at the edge of the penalty box and he managed to slot it past Guaita. There was chances for both sides till the 39th minute when a failed clearance by Feghouli found a Milan player who laid it off for De Jong who stunned everyone by scoring from outside the box to the top-left of Guaita.

The second half featured a goal-keeping change followed by almost complete Valencia domination in terms of possession and chances. This paid off in the 53rd minute when Jonas brilliantly lobbed the ball over the Milan defence which Alcacer controlled and then set up Dani Parejo who had no trouble beating the keeper at that range. The coach then made a couple of substitutions bringing on youngsters Michel, Viera, Bernat and Guardado. However Guardado was immediately injured and substituted for youngster Fede. After the goal, Fede and Bernat caused all sorts of problems for the Milan defense. Valencia created chances up to the last minute of added time (4 minutes) but missed some close chances.

The absence of Soldado as well as the dependence on him were felt in this game. Alcacer seemed shaky the whole game and only gained confidence after his assist which is a positive. The midfield also is taking part in the offensive, getting in some shots on goal. The coach demonstrated something important in this game which is that Valencia can compete against bigger sides.  In fact, Valencia deserved the win without a doubt but it wasn't meant to be. Despite being a friendly both sides gave it their all. I think Mathieu, Banega, Rami, Bernat and Fede showed great promise in this game. On the other hand, Guaita was the flop for me. This team has shown tremendous improvement and I think will have a great season. You can see the highlights below (provided by VCF Play).

* means substituted out/in

Valencia CF (1): Guaita*, Joao, Rami, Costa, Mathieu*, Banega*, Parejo*, Fuego*, Jonas*, Feghouli, Alcacer
Substitutions: Diego Alves*, Barragan, V.Ruiz, Cissokho, Fede*, Michel*, Romeu*, Viera*, Bernat*

AC Milan (2): Abbiati*, Constante, Mexes, Bonerta, Antonini, Nocerino*, Robinho*, De Jong*, Boateng, Poli, Petegna*
Substitutions: Gabriel*, Zaccardo, Niang, El Shaarawy*, Cristante*, Muntari*, Emanuelson*

Highlights: Valencia 1-2 AC Milan Match Highlights