Sunday, March 8, 2015

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Valencia CF Match Report

The match for third place is over and as it stands everything stays the same as both teams scored a goal each and the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Very interesting, very scrappy match, not many fluidity in the play and that's pretty much what was expected, that is what Atletico Madrid style is and Valencia CF managed to pair quite well against that style at Atletico Madrid's own grounds.

The match started with a high tempo as expected, both sides clashing at midfield and as predicted Valencia CF coach Nuno Santo chose a more power based team with Enzo Perez, rather than a more flair one with Andre Gomes, this did give results in the first 10 minutes of the match with Valencia CF largely controlling the tempo of the game and having more ball possession.

Valencia CF did have some runs towards Atletico Madrid goal and some final third play, but the final ball just wasn't there and the wingers were being marked solidly, with the full backs in Gaya and Barragan preoccupied with defensive duties.

After about 20 minutes I'd say Atletico Madrid took control of the match, they love their fouls and indiscreet kicks and stuff, with Torres particularly being quite nasty and committing dirty fouls, he was pretty lucky to stay on the pitch.

Atletico Madrid would score in the 33rd minute, they took a free kick, the ball was headed from the Valencia CF penalty area just to the outside, well technically it hit someone from the Atletico players either on the hand or on the shoulder and the ball went straight to where Koke was and he shot and scored. Otamendi was in a good position I believe to block the shot, but he reacted a bit too slow and haphazardly and it was 1-0 for Atletico Madrid.

After the goal it was mostly Atletico Madrid, they had a few more chances, nothing major, but a shot here, a header there, a half chance over there, all of those add up and Valencia CF have been quite happy to avoid more goals.

Towards the end of the first half Valencia CF took control of the game once again, but a bit too little too late and they haven't been able to do much with the ball, it usually floats around the final third and then its lost.

I think the three biggest disappointments for me in the first half are Otamendi, Feghouli and Negredo. They just haven't seen up to par and I wonder if playing Otamendi was the right choice and if he is 100% fit. As for Negredo he just seems lost and isn't causing them any problems. Feghouli seems to be mostly on the periphery of the match as well and hasn't justified his inclusion.

The second half was similar to the first as Valencia CF came out as the more dominant team out of the gates, but again as time progressed Atletico Madrid took their turn and started applying more pressure and assuming control.

Atletico Madrid did attack frequently and got a lot of free kicks and corners, something which they are very dangerous at, I think over 13 goals scored from set pieces for them, but Valencia CF defense stood still and Diego Alves was always positioned well and was able to claim some of the crosses.

Atletico Madrid would have a great chance to make the score 2-0 somewhere around the mid of the second half, there was a cross from the right side that was moving towards the far post on the other side, someone from the Atletico players headed the ball towards the center and it literally fell on top of Tiago who was alone and only 2 maybe 3 meters away from goal, but managed to miss an empty goal.

As Valencia CF brought in Andre Gomes for Enzo Perez and Atletico Madrid substituted Koke the play shifted and Valencia CF once again gained a foothold in this match and started to dictate the tempo. This lead to several runs and crosses from Valencia CF, but nothing major and most of the play was very scrappy on both sides.

The break for Valencia CF would come in at the 77th minute when Parejo shot from a long range free kick, but Moya was positioned a little too far out, the ball seemed to bounce from his fists to the bar and into play again, with Valencia's Mustafi reacting really quick and heading the ball into the net to make it 1-1.

After that it was again mostly midfield battle, with Valencia CF generally looking a bit better, though Atletico Madrid were dangerous in their counter attacks and Valencia CF defenders had to constantly deal with those.

In the final moments of the match Fuego would earn himself a red card and with good reason too, it was a last ditch to prevent a dangerous Atletico Madrid attack and it was well worth the red card, it was technically a second yellow into an automatic red.

Technical details:
Atlético Madrid: Moyá; Juanfran, Giménez, Godín, Siqueira; Tiago, Gabi (Raúl Jiménez, m. 80); Arda, Koke (Mario Suárez, m. 68), Fernando Torres (Mandjukic, m. 61), Raúl García.

Valencia CF: Diego Alves, Antonio Barragán, Shkodran Mustafi, Nicolas Otamendi, José Gayá; Javi Fuego, Enzo Pérez (André Gomes, m. 67) Dani Parejo, Pablo Piatti (Lucas Orban, m. 90); Sofiane Feghouli (Rodrigo, m. 58), Álvaro Negredo.

Koke 1-0, 32 min. Assist Tiago
Shkodran Mustafi 1-1, 77 min.

Player Ratings:
Diego 6.5 - Very secure, handled free kicks and corner kicks superbly and dealt with what little came towards him easily.
Barragan 7 - Quite secure at the back, tried to get forward and did send several crosses, but his crossing accuracy was terrible. Was very active both at defense and offense though.
Mustafi 8 - Really solid at the back, held his position very well, dealt with the attacks that came his way securely and to top it off scored the goal for Valencia CF.
Otamendi 6.5 - Started off shaky, several mistakes from the Argentinian, but improved in the second half and made several crucial tackles.
Gaya 7 - Had to deal with a lot at the back and did so in a good fashion, was beaten two or three times, but nothing came out of it. Moved forward at every opportunity and was very dangerous, few nice crosses.
Fuego 6.5 - Usually a red card automatically qualifies for a -1 points in my ranking system, but since this was a crucial tackle to prevent a dangerous attack it cancels itself out. Was generally good in his defensive duties, provided some nice safe passes in the midfield which were good in this type of match.
Enzo 6 - Probably the weakest of the midfielders, ran a lot and covered a ton of ground, involved in few attacks as well, but could not bring something substantial and was taken off for Gomes.
Parejo 7 - Was the main man in midfield, controlled possession well at certain times, spread the ball well and did end up doing a lot of defensive duties as well. His shot from a free kick lead to the goal for Valencia CF.
Feghouli 5.5 - Mostly anonymous and when he got the ball there was nothing of quality, he mostly lost it. He needs improve significantly, since the competition is fierce and he won't be a starter with these type of performances.
Negredo 5.5 - Not very involved in the game, when balls came his way he was slow to react, lost many of his air duels as well. Should be doing a lot more for the team.
Piatti 6 - He was mostly kept quit by some good defending, did had several runs and tried to get things going, but nothing panned out.
Moreno 5.5 - Didn't add anything over Feghouli. He did have better link-up with Barragan and didn't lose the ball as much, but was also safer in his dribbles and forward runs.
Gomes 6 - Provided different type of style in midfield and when he came in Valencia CF did start to control the match, but that was more from Koke leaving at the same minute, than Gomes having a huge impact.
Orban N/A - Last minute substitution after Fuego's red card.