Monday, May 5, 2014

Real Madrid 2-2 Valencia CF Match Report

Real Madrid were lucky to get one point tonight against Valencia CF, but unfortunately for Valencia the luck was on Real Madrid's side with a last minute equalizing goal.

I thought it would be a tougher match for Valencia CF and in my prediction in the match preview I even predicted a 2-1 loss to Real Madrid, but the team surprised me rather positively and almost won against Real Madrid at their home terrain.

The match started with Real Madrid exerting huge pressure in the first 10 minutes of the match, but after that Valencia CF came into its own element and the match became a lot more equal affair with both sides fighting for possession in the midfield and both sides having strides towards goal. In fact Cristiano Ronaldo has a good chance against Valencia CF which Diego Alves saved and on Valencia's side Daniel Parejo has a major chance to score while being left alone and plenty of time to set up for the header, but he headed the ball straight and Diego Lopez was able to punch the ball and save his goal.

As the game was progressing Valencia CF were having the better chances and more dangerous forward moves, Real Madrid might have been attacking more and having more shots, but Valencia's chances were really dangerous with Feghouli causing major problems for Madrid's defense on that right side all match long.

Just before half time Valencia CF got the lead through Jeremy Mathieu who sort of sneaked the ball past Real's defense after Parejo's corner kick. It was a strange header, very inconspicuous and sneaky.

In the second half there were attacks going on for both sides and Bale and Benzema has few decent shots on goal and Diego Alves made few very good saves to deny them and other Real Madrid players, in fact he was probably one of the best players on the field as of then.

Real Madrid would equalize in the 59th minute through Sergio Ramos, basically returning the favor to Mathieu and scoring a header after a short cross from the right side.

Valencia CF seemed devastated for a few minutes, but then the attacks increased as Keita was playing really well in midfield with Parejo and Feghouli was having good runs down the right with Joao as support. Through few attacks Valencia CF would put pressure on Real Madrid and this would allow Parejo to be allowed unmarked with the ball rebounding up to him he took the shot and scored.

Few substitutions later and Real Madrid were positioned aggressively in attack, while Pizzi making substitutions to refresh the team with Jonas replacing Paco. Jonas would do a lot of good, he was able to hold up the ball and link up with the other players.

Unfortunately for Valencia CF the referee awarded Real Madrid with 5 minutes of additional time and that was enough for them to score a goal. Valencia CF defense started to feel shaky towards the late game and once again Mathieu was the culprit, not blocking Cristiano Ronaldo well enough to prevent him from a weird back heel shot that went into the net.

Player Ratings:
Diego Alves 9 - Great display from the goalkeeper, making several great saves and keeping the result positive for Valencia CF.
Joao Pereira 7 - Not always very sound defensively, but he more than made up for it with his attacking forays and link up play with Feghouli.
R. Costa 7 - Won most of the challenges and was able to deny Ronaldo and Isco time and time again, was the strong link in defense.
Mathieu 5.5 - Wasn't good at all. Always shaky in defense, he seems slow, easy to outmaneuver and lost Ronaldo on few occasions the one costing Valencia the three points.
Bernat 6 - Was solid enough defensively though didn't venture forward as much as Joao did. Was out-jumped on several occasions though and shows his weakness in defense which is his short height.
Javi Fuego 5.5 - Was good defensively and worked really hard tonight, but not much more contribution.
Parejo 7 - Great passing ability and good creativity, was dampened by his terrible header that should have been goal, but made up for it by scoring later for a 2-1 lead for Valencia.
Keita 8 - Absolutely brilliant, reminiscent of his Barcelona performances when in his prime. Was all over the midfield, made several important tackles and blocks in defense and went forward to good extent and supported the attacking players. Really good in possession as well and linked up well with Parejo and Feghouli.
Feghouli 8 - Brilliant performance, gave Real Madrid defense headaches all match long and his runs from the wing were very dangerous and penetrative. Could have had few assists if Valencia CF players used their chances more.
Paco 6 - Good off ball movement and was in good positions, but he wasn't 100% ready, seemed a bit unconcentrated and slow to react, missing few good opportunities.
Vargas 6 - Similar presence as Paco though he was more aware and more concentrated, but lacked the good positioning that Paco had.
Jonas 6 - Had several good moments after coming on, helped hold the ball up high and linked up well with the attack, being involved in few chances.
Ruben Vezo N/A - Not enough time
Barragan N/A - Not enough time