Sunday, July 27, 2014

Preseason Coverage: Alianza Lima 2-2 Valencia CF (Pens:9-8)

The first match of the 2014 Euroamericana Cup ends in a loss on penalties. The game saw new signing Rodrigo partner up with Alcacer at the front for the first half but neither Feghouli or Guardado were given game time as they had just joined the group. The first have featured almost complete dominance from the Peruvian side which saw them score twice, leaving a lackluster Valencia down 2-0 at half time. Diego Alves had some sort of uncomfort and was taken off as a precaution. Nuno then brought on Rodrigo de Paul, Robert Ibanez and Barragan for the second half which saw Valencia CF change 180 degrees. The energy from these players made the game exciting to watch and very fast paced. Valencia tied it up with two goals scored in five minutes but ended up losing the shootout directly after full time.

I am still reserving judgement as the team is still in experimental stage with new teammates but I will point out the good things here. One, Piatti was an engine today, he never stopped running and was fighting for everything. He looks like he really wants a place on the team. Even in the first half when the Peruvian side was dominating he didn't give up. Two, Andre Gomes could prove to be a game-changer this season. In the second half when Parejo was subbed off, he had no trouble taking over his role and he lead the comeback by setting up Alcacer beautifully. If he can carry this skill into the season, he will be great. Three, Rodrigo de Paul is also improving and was a fresh burst of energy in the second half. Four, Jaume might very well be a better option than Guaita. He looks really confident and saved four penalties in the shoot-out, albeit 2 were disallowed as he moved early. Other than that, we really need to get working on the defense, Javi Fuego as a makeshift defender wasn't working out.

EDIT: I got to say Parejo was really terrible in the first half, I know he was our best or one of our best players last season, but so far in the preseason he has been really poor, slow in passing, slow to react, the passes haven't been good either, not creating much with them. It was Rodrigo Moreno first match so we can't judge him based on that, but he was really bad in his first match it has to be said. Its obvious that he will improve and sometimes players need up to 3-4 months to fully come into their own after a transfer, but it has to be said that he played really poorly.

Ultimately everyone played bad in the first half, then in the second half it was like a completely different team, Nuno had made few changes and it seemed to work. The gameplay was now fast and fluid, the players seemed to know what to do and had a goal(no pun intended). This lead Valencia CF to two early goals in the second half, equalizing the match and had opportunities to score more, but unfortunately it wasn't going to be.

Overall we didn't get to see a lot of the players, it seems the coach is testing more seriously and trying to really test the players, so he didn't make many changes. Plus Guardado and Feghouli arrived shortly from their vacations and hadn't had the preparation necessary, but I think we might see them feature at least as a sub in the next game.

I'm curious to see how Guardado plays after a successful World Cup, his performances were very good individually, so lets see if he can translate it in Valencia CF. Our left wing position is very pack either way, with Pablo Piatti, Rodrigo De Paul, Guardado, Viera even technically plays there, even though I've always argued he is being wasted there as he is central attacking midfielder and not a winger.

Overall I think its early to tell about the possible performance in the league, it won't be at least 2-3 more weeks that we will be able to seriously judge the team level of performance.

Alianza Lima (2): Forsyth, R. Guizasola (. Donayre, m 64), Ibanez, Aparicio, Trujillo, Miguez, Molina, Costa (. Israel, 52 m), Landauri (. G. Guizasola, m 64), Guevgozian ( Uribe, m. 76) and Montes (Gonzalez Vigil, m. 52)
Valencia CF (2): Diego Alves (Jaume, 33 m.), Joao Pereira (Barragan, 46 m.), Victor Ruiz, Otamendi, Cissokho, Javi Fuego, Parejo (Robert, 45 m.), André Gomes, Piatti (Gayá , m. 73), Rodrigo (Rodrigo de Paul, m. 45) and Paco Alcácer

1-0 Guevgozian
2-0 Montes
2-1 Alcacer
2-2 Otamendi

Any thoughts on the game?