Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Valencia CF 2 v 1 Ghent Champions League 20/10/2015

To look at the scoreline would suggest this was a close and fortunate result for Valencia but the truth is we were far the better side.  The manager describes the first half as the best we have played this season and although I would suggest we have played better at times it doesn't take away from a very good performance.

With Negredo sitting in the stands for the second successive game the team had a very young look and it was apparent that Nuno wanted that extra pace in the forward line with Santi Mina coming in for his second consecutive game.  I have to admit I was very disappointed with Mina in the previous game but fair play to the manager he kept faith in him and it proved to be a good decision.

Valencia, playing with Alcacer as a lone striker started well and so many chances were being made that it was inevitable when the first goal was scored.  A great ball in from the right from Cancello was flicked towards goal by Feghouli to open the scoring in the 15th minute.   Unfortunately for the Algerian the goal has since been strangely awarded to the defender as an own goal. However, the important thing is that we are one goal in front.

The first half saw Valencia taking control and making many chances. But, as we know in football things happen and in the 40th minute Ghent were level.
A long ball found the unfortunately named Foket after Mina inexplicably tried an overhead kick to clear and totally missed the ball. Foket then still had lots to do and fired in a long range shot from the right and beat Jaume in the top corner, who had no chance.  I think the scorer is really well known because I heard a number of English speaking people shout out his name when he scored.
This was one game when I envied those sitting at home in the warm watching with a beer in hand as the rain was relentless and we were all soaked to the skin.  Fortunately the conditions didn't seem to affect the players and the football was of a good quality.

The second period became a little more even as the late goal seemed to have given the visitors and their large number of supporters fresh hope of salvaging something from the game.  Fortunately in the 72nd minute justice was done albeit in another slightly fortunate way. Cancello chipped a high ball over to the far post from the right which seemed to be going out it hit the crossbar and dropped to Gaya.  The young defender then cleverly blasted the ball in off  a defenders chest to put us back in front.  Jaume was called upon once more to save us with a great save near the end but the result was justified as we had so many chances that the game could easily have been over by half time.  However Rodrigo had a good opportunity  near the end when put through by Feghouli but fired straight at the keeper from a difficult angle.

LATEST   Feghouli has now been officially credited with the first goal.

Conclusion.  The result is the most important thing at the end of the day and this leaves us in a great position now to go on through to the next round. Not only that but the confidence seems to have been restored in the team and in the fans and the future looks good.

Player Ratings:
Jaume  6.5  Wasn't called upon to do too much but when called upon did what we all now know he is capable of and kept us in the game.
Gaya  6.5  Had a good game again and made the winning goal also put in some nice crosses and defended well.
Santos  7.5   I really like this guy, apart from one little slip when the wet ball skidded off his boot he really looks the part and is going to cause Nuno a headache now when deciding who to leave out, but what a great position to be in having too many quality centre backs.
Mustafi 7.5   Another great game and it is not surprising that top clubs are looking at him. Mr reliable is always there to clear up and start the attacks from the back.
Cancello  7.0  Another solid performance and it's hard to see Barragan getting back into the team while he is playing like this barring injury or Copa Del Rey.
Fuego 6.0  Not one of his better games in my opinion as he game away a few silly passes but not too bad.
Parejo 6.0  Like Fuego  his passing was a bit lazy and wayward at times maybe the conditions didn't help but not to his normal standard
Gomes 8.0   I have given him the higher mark for his nonstop efforts and running right from the start to the end. His vision and skills are amazing at times and to have come back from injury and hit top form again so quickly he deserves the credit.
Fehouli 7.0  Unlucky not to be awarded the goal as he deserved the credit for being there. Had a great game and caused the Ghent defence so many problems.
Mina 6.0  Really impressed with Mina, maybe should have scored when given a good opportunity but really surprised me with his skills and confidence.  He played many balls that less confident players would not have tried and he is only 19yrs a great future for this guy. At fault for their goal when should have headed it away instead of the overhead kick attempt
Alcacer 6.5  Playing as a lone striker he was tightly marked for much of the game but really worked hard to make things happen for himself for a change.  I think he must have been spoken to and told to stop waiting for that perfect pass and go out and make things happen for yourself, which he did.

Piatti   5        for Mina    60 mins
Rodrigo  5    for Parejo  67 mins
Danillo   6    for Alcacer  82 mins

Attendence  37,000

15 mins  1.0  Feghouli
40 mins  1.1  Foket
72 mins  2.1  O.G

Cards  Parejo,  Mina,  Cancello and Gaya