Sunday, February 21, 2016

Granada CF 1-2 Valencia CF Match Report

Valencia's 3rd win in a row, sure it isn't in the Spanish league, that would have meant 9 points, but the large win over Rapid Wien means that Valencia CF is practically qualified to the next round and once again Gary Neville can play with a more young squad and give them opportunities.

The first half of this match was quite uneventful, most of the play was around the midfield and when both teams attacked they were significantly away from the goal, so neither team was threatening too much. That said Granada did have one or technically two great chances, the cross found two players basically alone on goal, but Diego Alves saved both shots from close range and saved Valencia CF.

On the other side Andre Gomes came closest to scoring as he headed a great cross by Cancelo towards the goal, but Granada's keeper Fernandez had a great save and kept the score 0-0. Cancelo also had a pretty good run, so did Andre Gomes, but didn't result in chances.

The second half of this match is when pretty much most of the action happened. The second half started much like the first, really slow and basic, but that all changed when Valencia CF took the lead thanks to a goal by Daniel Parejo. I think it was Gomes who passed the ball to Paco, who selflessly passed the ball into the oncoming Parejo who's shot would find the back of the net in the 56th minute.

It would take Granada CF about 15 minutes to react, Valencia CF was losing steam and Granada took advantage of that starting to significantly threaten Valencia CF. They had the ball possession and kept penetrating out left side time and time again, placing dangerous crosses and passes.

In fact Valencia CF was very lucky on several occasions as Granada came close to scoring, most of the chances coming from the left side, in fact Diego Alves was literally solo two times against Granada players, it was pure fortune they couldn't score a goal. Gary Neville tried to remedy things by taking off Siquiera and bringing on Barragan, but I would have preferred to take out Gomes. Even with the arrival of Barragan it didn't stop the leaking at the back, then Gary had Santi Mina transfer to the left side as well to better cover the side.

The last 15 minutes of the match were just constant pressure and attacks on Valencia CF goal, it was barely watchable, I was thinking they are going to score any minute now. Thankfully Valencia CF would get a huge break, a cross by Cancelo was badly cleared and the ball actually ended up moving forward to Paco Alcacer who was alone on goal, he ran forward and tried to beat the keeper by placing a high shot, but Fernandez read the situation perfectly and was able to block the shot, fortunately for Valencia CF the rebound found its way to Santi Mina who's shot did beat the keeper and made the score 2-0 for Valencia CF.

The second goal ended up being crucial as Granada CF scored a goal on their own basically less than a minute after Valencia's second goal. Their goal came after a free kick from the right side and the cross found  Mendez who's header went into the goal.

Ultimately it was a lucky win for Valencia CF, we didn't have many chances and the several we had we scored from just 2. Granada CF were also very unlucky on several occasions and this match could have easily been a draw or even a loss. We got lucky and its clear that the team has a ton more to improve. The players need to be better in possession, stop losing or giving away the ball so much, perform better under pressure, improve their off ball movement and just improve the defense.

Today showed how easy it is to create chances against us, even by a relegation battle team like Granada CF, so a better team would have no problems scoring against us. The defense needs to be better coordinated and just more reliable and more secure. The midfield needs to learn to retain possession, keep the ball, circle it around, recycle possession, these are basic things that the team is failing to do.

Important win, it continues the trend of winning and that is always great, but this game shows us that this team need to improve a lot more, we played two of the weakest teams in La Liga the past two weeks and barely won, there is still a lot more work to be done.

Match Details:
Granada CF: Andrés Fernández, Lombán, Costa, Foulquier, Miguel Lopes, Fran Rico, Rubén Pérez (Isaac Cuenca, m. 68), Rochina, Barral (El Arabi, m. 61), Success, Peñaranda (Edgar, m. 46).
Valencia CF: Diego Álves, Siqueira (Barragán, m. 84), Santos, Mustafi, Cancelo, Enzo Pérez, André Gomes, Dani Parejo, Cheryshev (Piatti, m. 68), Feghouli (Santi Mina, m. 78), Paco Alcácer.

0-1 Daniel Parejo 56 min. Assist Paco Alcacer
0-2 Santi Mina 92 min.
1-2 Edgar Antonio Mendez 93 min. Assist Ruben Rochina

Player Ratings:
Alves 6.5 - Had few good saves, a bit shaky when coming off his goal on crosses, but overall a good performance.
Cancelo 7 - Great forward runs, provided some good passes and crosses forward and dealt nicely with Granada's attacks at the back.
Mustafi 4 - Out of position on three occasions and was generally found lacking in defense. His cover and marking were also suspect.
Santos 4.5 - I guess slightly better than Mustafi, had few good blocks, but was also beaten few times and found it really hard to cover against Granada's attackers.
Siquiera 4 - Faltered when under pressure and got beaten time and time again in the second half. He was so bad he had to be replaced by Barragan.
Enzo 5.5 - Good defensive contribution, was moving the ball from defense to midfield and provided some reliable and accurate passes.
Parejo 6 - Scored the leading goal for Valencia CF, was important in the spreading of the ball and was a constant outlet, but he did gave away possession on several occasions, once in quite a dangerous position.
Gomes 5 - Had some great solo runs, but should have released the ball before he lost it. Found himself in a good position in the first half, could have made a great pass and create a chance, but decided to shoot and waste the opportunity. That there summed up his performance.
Feghouli 5 - Relatively quiet performance, had some decent passes with Cancelo, but it was mostly Cancelo doing the attacking.
Paco 6 - Provided the assist for the leading goal, could have score a second goal at the end, but his shot was blocked by the keeper. Other than that some decent movement off the ball.
Cheryshev 6 - Was always attacking on the left wing, attempted to go through numerous times and generally a positive influence in the team.
Piatti 4.5 - Lost the ball numerous times or was tackled off of it, had bad defensive cover as well and generally a poor performance.
Mina 6 - Came in and was mostly relegated to defending, but found himself at the right place at the right time and scored the 2nd goal for Valencia CF.
Barragan N/A - Not enough time