Showing posts with label Copa del Rey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Copa del Rey. Show all posts

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Valencia 1-0 Betis (Copa del Rey semi-final)

Valencia have done it! First cup final in 11 years

Marcelino went with a risky enough game plan, trusting Valencia's defence to hold out, while aiming to steal a goal on the counter. It worked. Betis had very limited opportunities, mainly a couple of shots from distance. The Valencia goal was well worked. Piccini burst through and played a nice pass to Gameiro who had made another intelligent run. As usual, he showed his unselfishness, chipping it to Rodrigo, who couldn't miss an empty goal.

Rodrigo came off to protect him for the final, since he was on a yellow and Cheryshev, Soler and Diakhaby came on, with Guedes ending as the lone striker up front. If there's a minor grumble, it's that we fluffed a number of chances to kill the game with a second goal on the break.

This is a quick post, since I have to sleep, but I was happy with the performances of the team particularly Roncaglia, Piccini and Jaume among others.

Next cup game on the 25th....

gives us the first chance of silverware since 2008. Just a reminder, cup runners-up no longer qualify for Europe, so we have to win it and doing so would guarantee a place in Europa league group stages, whereas finishing 7th would mean sacrificing our late summer playing 3 qualifying rounds of Europa league.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Betis 2-2 Valencia Copa match thread

Another draw! Valencia's 15th of the season but definitely one that the team will be more satisfied with than Betis. It looked like we'd screwed it up, conceding just before half time, with poor communication between Gaya and Jaume and the second was poor, Joaquin beating Jaume at the near post directly from the corner. There was debate before the game whether Neto should start instead, given that he has been in great form this season and that goal did Jaume's claims to start no favours.

So, 0-2 down, over and out? We hadn't even been bad, Rodrigo and Mina had come close to scoring before their first goal. To their credit the team rallied. The substitutions helped, with Kondogbia and Gameiro coming on and the latter was instrumental. Rodrigo fed a good pass to Gameiro in space to centre for Cheryshev to bundle a header past the keeper in minute 70. The game opened up, with Betis seeming to be unsure whether to push for a third goal, mindful of our away goal, or defend their lead. A defensive mistake nearly cost them, Gameiro getting on to it and making a good decision, centring the ball for Cheryshev whose header hit the bar. In the final minute of injury time we got a deserved equaliser with an excellent counter attack. Gameiro feeding Rodrigo on the left and the latter's pass was perfect for Gameiro to use his speed to get ahead of Sidnei to make it 2-2.

Plenty to improve. Dead balls, especially corners, remain our weak spot. Jaume and Soler among others had disappointing games (Gamiero should surely start instead of Mina) but the team did well to not give up and now has the edge of away goals, but has only half the job done.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Valencia 3-1 Getafe (Copa del Rey) match thread

Incredible stuff. Valencia looked like they had a mountain to climb after conceding a soft goal in the first minute. 38 seconds had gone to be exact. Getafe showed their dirty side as usual throughout the game and half time arrived with Valencia needing 3 goals. It looked like the first had arrived in the 55th minute with a good cross put in and Mina finishing well, but it went to a VAR review and in that, it looked like Ferran, who had played a part in the build up, was slightly offside.

In the 60th minute, Rodrigo put us level but Getafe sat back in depth frustrating Valencia's attempts. Getafe were reduced to 10 men in the 73rd minute but still, the game reached injury time with Valencia needing two goals. Getafe's constant time wasting resulted in seven minutes added. Cheryshev, Kang-In and Gameiro had all come on and the latter two played a key part. First, a centre from Kang-In was headed back across goal by Mina for Rodrigo to score in the 91st minute. A minute later Valencia lost the ball and the defence found themselves outnumbered with Getafe looking likely to score, however their shot was saved and Valencia raced up the pitch. Kang-In found Gameiro and he put the ball across the goal for Rodrigo to score his first hat trick. What a time to do it.

Valencia held on after that, with tempers boiling over at the end and what seemed like a fight, leaving Gabriel bloody and reports (unconfirmed) that Diakhaby, who never played, got a red card?

If you went to bed during this one, I don't blame you, but unfortunately, you've missed one of our most dramatic finishes in years. The team showed huge character to claw this one back and hopefully this will be a springboard for us to continue our mini-revival.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Gijon match thread / News

After yet another disappointing draw, Valencia find themselves fighting to stay in the cup, hoping to overturn a 1-2 loss at Gijon. In usual circumstances, that would be an easy task, but given the team's travails this season, all bets are off. When the draw was made it was expected that Valencia would have won by 1 or 2 goals in the first leg and been able to experiment and rest players. Instead, it's win or bust and therefore a near first team line-up should be expected.

Transfer news is that Uroš Račić has joined Tenerife of the second division on loan. His time with us has been very limited and NickVCF in the comments has rightly asked what the point is. We can bring in these young prospects, but if their time in the first team is limited to a late sub appearance in the cup before they're sold for a miserable profit at best, it seems worthless. We did identify a young talent a few seasons back. His name was Rodrigo De Paul. We sold him for a dismal 3 million and now he's being targeted by several clubs for 30-35 million. Sure, it's not a total disaster for Valencia, since we'll get at least 10% of that but in hindsight, it would have been better to keep him.

Batshuayi's exit looks imminent with Monaco remaining the likely destination, though late interest from Everton and Galatasaray may change that. Not our business really, since he's been a bust. A fourth striker seems almost certain, though with funds very limited the options are underwhelming. Chicarito was being touted as the likely possibility last week but high demands from West Ham have made that less likely. 

The name currently in vogue is Sergio Leon, who has been a back-up for Betis after decent spells elsewhere including Osasuna. Like Gameiro and Chicarito, this is one I think comes at least 3 years too late. Leon was a good player a few seasons back but I have my doubts he'd significantly improve things up front. In hindsight, we should have got 40-50m for Rodrigo last summer and spent that on Maxi Gomez of Celta. I said that last summer in the comments. However, that boat has sailed, Rodrigo's nominal value has dropped to 25-30m at best, while Gomez's has soared and there's close on zero chance that he will join us. Other options are limited. If we had the money, Borja Iglesias, another of our former youth players who we let leave on a free enjoyed good seasons with Celta B at the third level, Zaragoza last year at the second level and has made the step up with Espanyol, averaging nearly a goal every two games. But, at 25 million (release clause) for a player that has only has one good season in the top flight it would be a gamble.

EDIT: So a 3-0 victory over Sporting Gijon to lift up everyone's spirits, it was a dominant performance in the second half, which unfortunately due to work is the only half that I watched and we managed to turn that domination into goals, what a surprise.

This is what we need, this is how we should play all the time and this is how many goals we should score. I mean at one point it seemed like this would end in yet another draw and we would be out of the cup due to losing the first leg, but we scored the first goal and after that it was smooth sailing with two more goals coming along.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Gijon - Valencia Copa del Rey match thread

I'm writing this at half time. If you've missed it, well, you know the story: Valencia have dominated possession but created little and gifted the other team an easy goal. Remember this is Gijon, a midtable side in the second division who have struggled themselves this season, scoring only 19 goals in 20 games. Can't blame Jaume, the defence has been shaky and the goal was a poor one to give away. Wass was caught out of position on the counter, Vezo went across to cover but got sold and when the cross came in, Diakhaby was poor, failing to mark properly. I've rated him so far, but it's not his week. Also we have looked really weak and suspect from corners.

The midfield has been decent, especially Parejo. Kang-in has also had a good game, but his lack of playing time has translated into a lack of understanding with Gaya. Soler and Ferran subdued so far. Up front, Gameiro has at least worked hard and done a lot of running, but it's been mostly for nothing. On a couple of occasions, I've seen him make intelligent runs, but the pass hasn't come. Batshauyi has continued to be poor, doesn't get into any good positions, has a heavy touch and usually holds the ball too long. He had the first Valencia chance when they messed up a back pass, but instead of trying to nutmeg the keeper, he hit a really heavy touch to the side and the chance went. Kang-in had a shot at the keeper in the 11th minute and then there was a double chance in the 24th minute, first Gaya bursting through to be saved and then Soler hitting a curling shot which the keeper saved. Valencia equalised just before half time, Parejo's shot came down off the bar and bounced out then Gameiro headed in the rebound only to be flagged offside. VAR was consulted (for the first time ever in the Copa) and the goal was given and I'm still unclear who scored. Looking at the VAR replay, it's hard to say if the ball was completely over the line, but Gameiro was definitely onside.

It's late here so this is it for me. Win tonight, even unconvincingly, and Marcelino has more time, draw and the vultures are still circling. Lose and there's a very good chance that Voro will be back at the helm. I've backed him so far, but increasingly that's from past negative experience and because I'm sceptical that a replacement would do better. But these Gijon games and Valladolid at the weekend will determine it.

So we ended up losing and at this point Marcelino has to be on thin ice. Again, if we do not get good results in our next few matches I can't see him staying as a coach. The excuses are running thin and ultimately as a coach he is responsible for the results. Remember this is a mid-table second tier club and we made them look good in this match.

The second half we were terrible, so many lost balls, so little ball control, rushed passes that led to nothing, etc.... We couldn't string together more than 2-3 passes before losing the ball, I haven't seen play this bad in a long time. It's one thing to play this bad against a strong Barcelona side or a Real Madrid in their form, but this is absurd to play so badly against such a weak opponent.

I think Marcelino is close to losing his job if he can't get a string of a few wins over the next couple of matches. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Copa del Rey draw

A bit of luck for Valencia in the draw for the last 16 of the Copa del Rey

drawing Sporting Gijon, the only remaining Segunda division side in the competition and moreover, the second leg will be at the Mestalla. We couldn't have had a better draw if we'd picked it ourselves. Marcelino will know the club well, since he spent 4 years there as a player and 2 as a manager. Like us, Gijon have had a very disappointing season: they recently parted company with our ex-player Ruben Baraja and are languishing in 12th place, having lost in the promotion play-offs last season. Given the weird way this season has gone, and our struggles against Ebro in the previous round, nothing should be taken for granted, but this is a solid draw which increases our chances of progress.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Valencia - Ebro (copa del rey) match thread

In the first leg of this round, Valencia scraped a narrow win against a third level side, yet another of many numerous unacceptable performances this season. Tonight offers the team the chance to score an easy win, for out of form forwards like Batshuayi and Gameiro to get some goals and for some of the lesser used or B-team players to try to impress.

Predictably, big changes in the starting line-up

with only Gameiro continuing from last game. Racic gets his first start in a competitive game. Hopefully the team can secure a morale boosting win. Assuming I can get a stream I'll try and update this later, but if not feel free to comment here in the meantime.

Got a stream and wish I hadn't as it was the same old rubbish. If the team had been playing well in general we could have at least written it off as the second string but I'm bored with making excuses. Ebro, a team struggling at the third level, made us look very ordinary at the Mestalla. It was an even first half with Kondogbia coming closest to scoring for us and one of their players almost scoring with a strong shot from distance of the type that we barely ever see our players hit. It took until the 58th minute for Batshuayi to break the deadlock, heading home a good cross from Lato. Bats didn't smile and I think few Valencia fans did either.

Jaume made a couple of good reflex saves. Defence had little to do. Kondogbia had his moments, especially in the first half, but lost the ball too much and is way short of last year's level. Racic looks a handy back up. Ferran didn't do a lot apart from a decent moment of skill near the end. Kangin had a good game and worked hard. Bats despite the goal offered little, losing or delaying on the ball too much. Gameiro was awful, think he didn't touch the ball until the 25th minute and when he went off with a knee injury I don't think many cared unfortunately. Parejo came on to boos.

An in-form Sevilla next and failure to get 3 points and we can definitely kiss any top four dreams goodbye, though they already look a distant fantasy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Ebro 1-2 Valencia (Copa del Rey)

Valencia started their Copa del Rey campaign in Zaragoza, coincidentally in exactly the same stadium where they started it last year. Comparisons with last season pretty much end there. Sure, the team did manage their first win in just over a month but as ever it's on the back of a performance which leaves little to celebrate and the game did nothing to wash away the bad taste that's been building up. On the contrary, it was just more evidence that this team has seriously lost the plot as we scraped to a 1-goal win over a team that is bottom of the third level and that despite having a man advantage for over an hour.

No surprises in the line-up

Kang-in, as expected, started his first official game but aside from that, knowing the team absolutely had to win this one Marcelino played it safe, giving game time to first team players who have been less active recently like Lato, Murillo, Diakhaby, Ferran and Wass.

Kang-In was active in the early period, often for the wrong reasons, as his enthusiasm and lack of experience caused several fouls and he was lucky to escape a booking by a card happy referee. Ebro for the most part were happy to sit back in a 5-4-1 asking what Valencia could do. As we all know, the answer to that this season has been nothing and no different here. Despite lots of possession there was little created and the first clear chance actually fell to them. Wass screwed up in possession, did at least get a tackle in, but the ball bounced through only for Murillo to save us with an inch perfect last ditch tackle.

Our first clear chance fell to Gameiro, who did well to recover the ball, but his shot was straight at the keeper. In minute 30, the ref did us a favour, sending their player off for a second yellow. I thought both his yellows were a bit harsh to be fair. An hour to play, surely that could motivate us and give us the edge? Nope. What followed had shades of the Juventus game, with the difference that we were playing a team bottom of the Spanish third level rather than one of the best teams in the world. We passed around a bit but rarely created anything of note.

At half time, Marcelino subbed off Gameiro for Bats. I was a bit disappointed at that one as I thought this was one game where we could have risked taking off a defender for a midfielder or forward given the man advantage. After another tepid 15 minutes of the second half with Valencia looking clueless as ever, Ebro took the lead with probably only their second chance of the game. Lato fell to the ground too easily, and this let their player power a header home at the back post. Disgraceful stuff. Coquelin came on for Vezo with Wass covering at right back. 

Mina would save us with a couple of good goals. Cutting inside for the first then curling a shot past the keeper for the first. Then for the second scoring a header from a good cross by Wass to save our blushes. 

In terms of players, Jaume had barely anything to do and can't really be blamed for the goal. Vezo was average. Diakhaby had a really good game, was solid and passed the ball out from the back well. Murillo was alright. Lato was a big disappointment, doesn't seem to have progressed from last season and the quality gap between him and Gaya has widened.

Kang-In is a diamond in the rough. Has great potential but lacks experience and didn't look fully comfortable on the wing, he drifted inside at times. Wass had a couple of good moments, the assist and a stinging shot from distance which the keeper did well to save. 

Mina was one of the few bright spots but 4 seasons in would need to show more consistency. Gameiro and Bats did little to impress as usual.