Thursday, January 12, 2023

Real Madrid 1-1 Valencia CF Match Report (4:3p)

Unfortunate loss for Valencia CF who fought very hard against Real Madrid and gave them a hard time for most of the match, only to lose on penalties. 

Real Madrid started the match with high tempo and looking to take the lead over Valencia CF as early as possible. Their first big chance came in the 9th minute when Valverde released a through ball to Rodrygo who latched on to the ball, ran forward a long distance, entered the penalty area and shot, but it went wide.

Few minutes later it was Valverde who took a shot at goal from long range, but once again it went wide. Valencia CF would have a chance on their own in the 18th minute after Gaya's cross found Cavani who headed the ball, but Courtosis was alert and saved the goal. Only a minute later Toni Lato would fall in the penalty area and claim a penalty, but the referee waved play on.

On the other side of the pitch a similar situation would arise when Benzema went down in the penalty area and the referee immediately without any deliberation awarded Real Madrid a penalty. I would say this was likely a penalty if not for the reverse situation where Lato was fouled in the same way, but no penalty was awarded. Two almost identical fouls, what I'd call light fouls, but one was given and once was not. To me this is clear corruption, but whatever, we are used to this by now. 

Benzema would go on to score the penalty and give Real Madrid the lead. Thankfully their lead would not last long as Lino would go on to equalize the score after he intercepted a solid cross from the other side of the field by Lato. He anticipated the cross well, ran forward to position himself just right for the cross and then with a simple shot scored the goal.

The second half was subdued, not too many attacks as there were more fouls and stops to the match with both teams vying for control of the midfield and play becoming scrappier.

In the dying moments of the match Vinicius would have a big chance to score and give Real Madrid the victory, but Giorgi was alert, came out of his goal and blocked the shot giving Valencia CF a fighting chance in extra time and later on on penalties.

Real Madrid were the better team in extra time, they were the one looking for the win, they were the ones with the desire to win and Valencia CF goal was to survive essentially till the penalties and try and win it there. They would create several opportunities, some quite solid ones, but usually it was Giorgi that would save the goal time and time again.

In the penalty shootout both Valencia CF defenders blundered. Eray Comert shot above the goal and then for the must score penalty Gaya shot straight at the goalkeeper. A valiant effort by Valencia CF but felt short of winning. This could be a somewhat positive take as the team played some good football, generally competed well against Real Madrid and created some good goal scoring opportunities that could have punished Real Madrid. The defense is still generally kind of shaky, they still allow too many opportunities for the opposition and rely too much on the goalkeeper to get them out of trouble, to save the goal over and over again. 

I'd say I'm pleased with the performance; I didn't go in with any expectations into this match so I'm not disappointed, I can't be disappointed, I actually think if our team can play like this most of the time, we can actually win most of our matches and move up the table. This was overall a much better display than our previous two matches in La Liga.