Valencia CF won the first leg of the champions league series against AS Monaco by three goals to one and is one step closer to qualifying for the champions league group stage. The result is very good for the second leg, though Valencia CF would still have to be careful and make sure to try and score a goal there, since we all know if Monaco score a goal and they already have an away goal it can all crumble in an instant.
Anyways for the important part now, the match was off to an explosive start with both teams going at it from the first second of the match. It won't be too long though for Valencia CF to strike the first blow to AS Monaco as De Paul would cross the ball from the left wing into the penalty field, with the ball heading towards Feghouli who will direct it towards Moreno and Paco and they kind of both shot at the same time, though it seems to me that Moreno got more of the shot and is credited for the goal.
This would give Valencia CF an early boost, a big confidence and moral boost and we could clearly see it in the play as they had more control of the ball, the team was playing quite fluidly and was threatening AS Monaco on several occasions.
I particularly liked De Paul, he seemed to be everywhere on the pitch and was really leading the attacks, with Moreno as well being quite active and threatening towards Monaco's goal. This comfortable play would only last about 25 to 30 minutes, after which Monaco grew into the game and started taking over control of the match.
In fact the match changed so much from the 30th minute that Valencia CF were now in clear danger as AS Monaco had clear chances on goal, including one goal disallowed for offside, but this clearly showed how dangerous they were and how close they were to scoring. Unfortunately even with all the pointers Valencia CF were unable to slow down the pace of the match and gain control, but did manage to end the first half with the lead.
The second half started in the same way as the first one, instead now it was Monaco with the initiative and just like Valencia CF in the first half, they would go on to score after just 4 minutes into the second half.
The ball was passed deep into the penalty area with Ruben Vezo blocking the pass, but sort of leaving the ball in the way of Mario Pasalic who took the opportunity to score the equalizer.
I got to say I was quite worried at this point, since the team wasn't playing particularly good and with 1-1 I was worried that at best the match would end in a draw and it would be an almost impossible mission to get a positive result in Monaco.
Fortunately for me and the team though Valencia CF would take the lead once again fairly quickly thereafter. De Paul who did have a very good game was substituted with Pablo Piatti and this almost immediately paid off, as Piatti was able to control the ball from a cross and play it to Parejo who's shot was deflected by some Monaco defenders, tricking the goalkeeper to overextend and the ball ended in the net.
This really seemed to give Valecia CF a new life, another boost and from here on it was a fairly comfortable game. Valencia CF did have the better control in midfield and was constantly threatening AS Monaco through Feghouli and Piatti on both wings.
Long story short as I try to end this report Valencia CF would push on towards the end with Nuno bringing Negredo for the injured Enzo Perez and this would pay off. Even though Negredo wasn't too involved the attitude of more attacking paid off as Sofiane Feghouli managed to score the third goal for Valencia CF and sort of put this match to bed.
Sure it wasn't going to be Valencia CF if we didn't have some last minutes scares, but ultimately Valencia CF won 3-1 over AS Monaco and will be playing the second leg with a solid lead.
Valencia CF: Ryan, Barragán, Vezo,
Mustafi, Gayà, Parejo, Enzo Pérez (Negredo, m.76), De Paul (Piatti,
m.56), Feghouli, Alcácer (Javi Fuego, m.66), Rodrigo.
Subsic, Raggi, Carvalho, Wallace, Elderson, Pasalic (Bahlouli, m.76),
Toulalan, Fabinho, Bernardo Silva (El Shaarawy, m.78), Martial Iván
Cavaleiro (Dirar, m.63).
Rodrigo Moreno 1-0, 4 min. Assist Sofiane Feghouli
Mario Pasalic 1-1, 49 min.
Daniel Parejo 2-1, 59 min. Assist Pablo Piatti
Sofiane Feghouli 3-1, 86 min.
Ryan 7 - Had several saves, one early in the first half after VCF just scored and basically kept VCF's lead. Solid performance!
Barragan 6.5 - Only one mistake, though he did cost us the first goal. It was him who lost the player who then passed the ball into the penalty area and led to the goal. Other than this he was quite solid.
Mustafi 6.5 - One big mistake as well, passing the ball in a dangerous area to the opposition and would be thankful it didn't result in a goal. Had an otherwise very good showing.
Vezo 7 - Didn't seem to make any mistakes, should work on his understanding with the teammates though, he seemed lost as to whether to cover or not when another VCF player was close to him.
Gaya 6.5 - Decent at the back, did fall short on some of the defending as he was too forward at times and some lackluster crosses, but always supported the attack with his forward arrays.
Enzo Perez 7 - Poor first half showing, same negatives as in preseason, but improved extremely in the second half and took a more advanced position in which he seemed really comfortable, creating plays.
Parejo 7 - Would have a bit lower score if not for his goal, he did make several mistakes in midfield and gifted the ball in dangerous positions often.
De Paul 6.5 - Full of running and energy, involved in the first goal, part of most of the attacks Valencia CF had.
Feghouli 8 - Scored a goal and provided an assist, very fruitful contribution by the Algerian, though he did have some lackluster crosses and failed attacks. Needs to keep it up and still improve.
Paco 5 - Rather lethargic display by the striker, it just wasn't his day as the play largely passed him by. While pretty much everyone else was involved he was anonymous for most of the match.
Moreno 7 - I liked the way he played, really energetic display, popped at all over the pitch, dropped back to get the ball, was involved in a lot of the passing and build-up and just an overall great contribution.
Pablo Piatti 6.5 - Came in and instantly contributed with an assist to Parejo to make it 2-1. Really troubled the Monaco back line with his freshness and pace.
Javi Fuego 6 - Came on for Paco and helped better protect the back line, had few good interceptions, though his slow speed did show on occasions where he just couldn't keep with the pace of the opposition.
Negredo N/A - Not enough time.