Thursday, March 3, 2016

Malaga 1.2 Valencia

"Muchas Gracias Kameni  (Thank you Kameni") were the words being used by the Valencia supporters when his major gaf changed the game to our benefit.
It looked a harmless cross from the right from Paco Alcacer and with Cheyshev challenging the unfortunate keeper managed to pat the ball into his own net.  Cheryshev admitted accidentally standing on his foot but despite the keepers protestations to the referee the goal stood. So a bit of good fortune for us at long last.

In the first half we had looked a bit ragged at times and the home team had the upper hand but it was still a bit of a shock when on 13 minutes after a terrible mix up in our defence allowed Cop to scoop the ball over Alves to put Malaga a goal in front. The half continued with neither side really taking command but with Valencia playing some decent football at times.
The second period had hardly begun when Andre Gomes played a great ball from the right beating the retreating defenders to find Cheryshev on the far post.  He made no mistake with a great chip over the diving keeper to put us in front.
On 64 mins Rodrigo came on for Feghouli and he was gifted 2 great opportunities put put us further ahead but on trying to get the ball on to his stronger left foot spurned the chances.
On 77 mins Piatti came on for Cheryshev for some fresh legs and the game was getting quite physical and bad tempered. Feghouli was taken off after an altercation where he was accused  of lashing out out an opponent which also resulted in the home manager being sent to the stands for his protestations. Valencia were playing some better football in the second half an IMO looked like the team more likely to add to their goals with Malaga pushing forward looking to get back in the game.
The score remained 1.2 to Valencia and a very welcome and well deserved win was recorded.

3 points that allays any horrible lingering fears of demotion. Is it enough to help us push for a Europa League place, time will tell.  But as I have said before would it be a disaster if we did not qualify. We would then be better able to compete for a higher league place without those Thursday night trips to far off places like Russia and Ukraine.  Also, how seriously do people take the Europa League ?  The attendances are low and the atmosphere a bit stunted OK apart from the game against Sevilla when we lost at the last minute, a game never to be forgotten.  A little like the Copa Del Rey they just don't excite people unless it is the semi finals.

Player Ratings
Alves 6  Had no chance with the goal but still looking a bit shaky when distributing the ball and almost gave away a goal when scuffing an easy clearance
Barragan 6  A typical average performance caught in possession a couple of times and did not contribute too much to the attack
Mustafi 8.5  To me he had a very good game tonight. He seemed to be on the end of everything and had a great run with the ball. His best game of the season and has answered a few of his critics on here tonight.
Santos 6,5  Had a reasonably good game tonight with his no nonsense approach and showed some ball skills on a couple of occasions.
Gaya 7  Getting back to his best with a good game and got forward well
Fuego 7  His best game for us this season and for a long time.  We really need a fit and on form Javi Fuego for his calmness and experience. Good to see him back playing well
Feghouli 6  Not a great influence on the game but did OK until replaced
Parejo 6.5  No major errors tonight and worked well in the midfield putting Sundays nightmare behind him
Gomes. 6.5  Nice ball for our second goal and worked well but has to stop giving away clumsy fouls in dangerous areas.
Cheryshev 7   A good goal and some good runs unlucky to be taken off but I can see that Gary wanted some fresh legs.
Alcacer 6  Always looks a danger but scored no goals and for a striker that is a fail. Good cross to cause the keeper to mess up and score OG

Rodrigo 5.5  for Feghouli   Should have scored. Needs to be played on the left side IMO
Piatti 5.5  for Cheryshev  did not provide much while he was on
Vezo for Alcacer  bought on to waste time in the last minute.

Cop                 13 mins   1.0
Kameni OG    41 mins  1.1
Cheryshev     49  mins  1.2

Yellow cards
Mustafi, Gaya, Cheryshev, Feghouli, Piatti.

I only saw the game in a noisy bar and it was a bit rushed today to post it so I await your comments