Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Zenit St Petersburg 2 - 0 Valencia CF Champions League

Another disappointing night for Valencia in a freezing St Petersburg.  The big story of the night was the surprising inclusion of youngster Rafa Mir making his debut first the first team. Was this going to be a master move or a reckless gamble, well, although he tried hard and was willing, he failed to score or make any impact on the game therefore we can all make our own minds up on that one.

With Vezo stepping in for the injured Mustafi Valencia were enjoying slightly more of the possession without causing the home side any real problems. After his late inclusion on Saturday for the injured Vezo I was expecting good things from the young Portuguese however it was going to be one of those nights he and the rest of the team will want to soon forget, twice being at fault for failing to clear the ball gave Zenit the lead after 15 minutes.

Things went from bad to worse in the second half when Zenit got their second goal after 74 minutes waltzing through the Valencia defence to put the game out of reach. Despite the dominance of the home team Valencia had more of the ball possession but were unable to make many chances of note with Hulk again running the show with his strength and power.

Just to cap a bad night Vezo gets himself a red card for ploughing into Shatov, who the ref adjudged was through on goal when he had his legs taken away on the edge of the penalty box in the 80th minute.  To be fair Zenit deserved the win which gives them 5 out of 5 now.

Conclusion    We were well beaten by a far better side on the night. Zenit had the experience with age and they also had Hulk, who made all the difference.  The Valencia side are a team for the future and it showed tonight up against the big boys. There will need to be changes in the playing staff and probably the manager. With Gent winning tonight it puts our chance of proceeding in the competition on a knife edge now.  It also means we have only two central defenders for the next game against Lyon which we must win and hope that Zenit beat Gent.

Jaume 6.5   Not at fault with either goal and had a reasonably quiet night although made a couple of good saves
Cancello 6.5  Had a decent performance but the whole defence looked a bit like strangers for the goals.
Vezo  4  Really disappointing evening after his good late performance on Saturday. A night to forget for him.
Abdenour 6.5  Looks a bit off the pace after his long lay off but still a class player in my opinion. We need him back to speed soon.
Gaya 6.0  The guy needs a break, he is looking off the pace and not up to his old high standard. Have we given up on Orban, I thought he might have played tonight.
Perez  7  I thought he had a good game and was busy all over the pitch and failed to get a yellow card so that is a huge plus.
Parejo 7  Was busy and a major improvement on his dismal performance against Las Palmas but no telling shots or decent through balls
Gomez 6.5  Is really grafting hard to try to get the team going but failed to make much impact tonight.
Feghouli 6  I am sure he should not be playing with his injury. I think the problem is lack of quality depth in the squad. Tried hard but with little impact
Alcacer  6  Not his fault but looked isolated yet again but tried to link up with new boy Mir but it didn't really work.
Mir  6  I guess this one is a player for the future. Tonights game would have been a great experience for him as not many players debut in the Champions League, for obvious reasons.
Santi Mina 6.5 for Mir 56 mins     Had a good game for the short time he was on
Barbosa for Perez  73 mins   N/A
De Paul  for Cancello 78 mins   N/A