Friday, August 18, 2023

Valencia 1-0 Las Palmas match thread

This week has produced nothing except rumour on the transfer front. None of the rumoured signings like CanĂ³s have materialised yet. After a winning start it's crucial that we keep the momentum going and get as many points as possible while the team is still fresh.

Today's opponents are Las Palmas, back in La Liga after 5 seasons in Segunda and of all teams, they are the one I most didn't want to see again as they were nothing other than a pain in the a$$ for us in their previous 3-season stint. They got a draw against us in Mestalla in Nuno's last game in charge there (a sacking that never should have happened) and the return leg the same season was Pako Ayestaran's first in charge. It started well with Rodrigo scoring in the 3rd minute, but a penalty and then the most comical own goal you'll ever see, with Aderllan Santos (who else) trying to clear but the ball bouncing off the back of Mustafi and in for the winner (enjoy it here!). We played them the 1st game of the 2016-17 season and it was a devastating start which showed how the season was going to go as they beat us 4-2 at Mestalla. Though we beat them in Marcelino's first game, their jinx struck again in the return fixture with them coming from behind to beat us 2-1, helped in big part by Vezo and Paulista getting sent off. 1-1-4 against them and interestingly, ex-Valencia player Jonathan Viera scored in 5 of those 6. He's one of the only survivors from that era, back in Las Palmas for the 3rd time after a spell in China. He scored their equaliser last week so remains a threat.

For Valencia, it's the same line-up as last week. I guess if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Las Palmas also have ex-Valencia loanee Munir.

Cooling break. We started well and created a couple of good chances with Duro having the best one. We've been a bit sloppy in possession and Mamardashvili's clearances have put is in trouble couple of times. We've had a slight edge but that counts for nothing unless we score.

Second half. Guerra comes on for Almeida and looks very good, clearly the best next talent from the academy. We almost score when he puts Lopez through but the ricochet goes just wide. They have a couple of good chances for Viera and Munir but waste them. We got a penalty when their player carelessly handles, Pepelu sends it right down the middle for 1-0!

FULL-TIME: not the prettiest or most exciting of wins but I'll take it. The team, despite the odd sloppiness and misplaced pass, looks more comfortable and composed on the ball. The defence largely functions and shuts down danger. The biggest problem remains up front. Duro works hard, but he isn't a target man and the team badly needs more bite there. Osasuna at home next.