Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Espanyol 2-0 Valencia CF Match Report

Talk about a ruined game. Red card for Mustafi who at worst should have gotten a yellow card. If you look at the situation several times, you see he losses the ball, but no one has it at that point, so he and the Espanyol player move towards the ball, its a dead ball at this point, no one is controlling it and they fight for it, its football, its not ballet, so there is some contact, Mustafi wins the battle at which point the referee blows the whistle and awards him a straight red card.

You can be a hardcore Espanyol fan, but you still wouldn't claim that that was a red card. Lets give it the benefit of the doubt for the referee, lets judge it as harshly as possible and its a yellow card at max, with many referees who would have waved play on. But no, leave it to the referee to ruin the game.

After that what can I say, the team was one man down and Espanyol were the ones attacking more and through their attacks were the more dangerous side. They had several chances few times from the left side, from the center field, a long shot, etc... The fact that the match was started with 5 defenders turned out good for Valencia CF, but of course the attacking play and midfield control would suffer again.

Paco Alcacer was forced to end the match early with what seemed like an injury and was replaced by Alvaro Negredo, so more bad luck in this match for Valencia CF.

The first half was very frustrating and our defense which usually looks solid seamed our of sorts. I think there has been a bit too many changed in the past few weeks, Nuno tinkering more than usual, three man central defender, Orban playing as left back, then Gaya, a lot of unnecessary rest for various defenders and we are seeing a bit of a problem because of that. I can't blame one player, it seemed to me that the whole team played weak in a defensive manner.

Anyways the first half ended and it was still 0-0, there was still hope that the team would manage a scoreless draw and go on through to the next round.

The second half started as expected, Espanyol dominated the proceedings, Valencia CF did threaten a bit, especially on the left flank through Gaya and Enzo occasionally had some forward forays on the other side, but it was all really pathetic, nothing dangerous, nothing well thought, nothing well crafted. Sure the team is one man down, but you still need some organization when defending, some organization when attacking, that is not an excuse for a very poor performance.

Espanyol goal would come from a set piece, a free kick from the right side, it could have possibly been offside, I couldn't really see exactly, one could argue either way, to me it seemed like Otamendi played Espanyol onside, Yoel came out of his goal line but failed the punch, he was way too late and way too low so Caicedo was able to make the header and score a goal. Combined mistake between Otamendi and Yoel and Espanyol were leading 1-0. Would it have been different with no red card? No one can say for certain, but its sure that the team would have at least had a bit more control over the game.

After that goal it was just a matter of time until they would score again. I mean defensively Valencia were very weak and all of the forward forays ended up wasted. There was no build-up, no prolonged passing, just some very optimistic passes that most of the time gave the ball away.

Anyways Caicedo would score again and make it 2-0 to guarantee Espanyol the win and eliminate Valencia CF from the cup.
The second goal was again really silly, the winger just completely outplayed Orban, just dribbled past him like he wasn't even there, passed the ball to Caicedo, he wasn't properly marked and it was an easy goal for him.

Overall a terrible game, really garbage refereeing, poor defensive display, very unorganized play, match to forget for sure.

Technical Details:
RCD Espanyol: Pau, Javi López (Caicedo, m. 75), Álvaro, Moreno, V. Álvarez (Salva Sevilla, m. 63), Lucas, Abraham, Cañas, Duarte, Stuani (Víctor S., m. 85), Sergio García.

Valencia CF: Yoel, Ruben Vezo, Shkodra Mustafi, Nicolás Otamendi (Parejo, m. 84), José Gayá, Antonio Barragán, Javi Fuego, Enzo Pérez, André Gomes, Rodrigo de Paul (Lucas Orban, m. 67), Paco Alcácer (Álvaro Negredo, m. 33).

Felipe Caicedo 1-0, 78 min.
Felipe Caicedo 2-0, 88 min.

Player Ratings:
Yoel 5 - Slow to react to the cross for the first goal and could have been positioned better for the second goal, though the second one would have been extremely hard to save either way.  Doesn't ooze confidence.
Barragan 5 - Average performance from the right back who found it hard to go forward and defensively was good but not great.
Mustafi 3 - He got himself a red card, yes it was very harsh, but he shouldn't have put himself in that position and losing the ball like that.
Vezo 6 - Decent match, swooped in few balls and was generally secure at the back.
Otamendi 4 - Poor match from the one of the best players for Valencia CF this season, he had an uncharacteristically poor match, played Espanyol onside for the first goal, was nowhere to be found for the second and generally bad defending.
Gaya 7 - Was constantly challenged on the left wing and deal with the attack reasonably well, but it was his forward moved that were the highlight with him almost singlehandedly at times moving Valencia CF forward.
Fuego 5 - Rather poor performance from the defensive midfield, when he needed to shield the defense the most he failed and couldn't bring the ball forward from defense.
Enzo Perez 5 - Poor performance from the new signing, yes he had some forward arrays from the right wing and provided few crosses, but he needed to control the midfield more and play good football with the other midfielders.
Gomes 5 - Again as the most forward midfield he was very limited since the team was playing with 10 players, but was decent going forward, but as the rest of midfield couldn't hold the ball in the midfield.
Paco N/A - Not enough time, replaced early due to injury.
De Paul 6 - One of the more dangerous players for Valencia CF, but for the most part was playing alone and thus couldn't do much.
Negredo 5 - Substituted for the injured Paco, but failed to have any meaningful impact on the game. Had one chance in the second half, but his shot was blocked. Very limited performance.
Orban 4 - At fault for the second goal, completely destroyed by the Espanyol winger who dribbled so easily past Orban. I don't think he is even 1/3 as good as Gaya overall and in defense.
Parejo N/A - Brought on in the last few minutes of the match in order to look for a draw at that time, but didn't have big impact.