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Pregame: Stadium not full. Lineup confirmed, as per Maddi:
Angel, Gonzalo, Marcano, Capdevila
Cani, Bruno, Eguren, Cazorla
10', 0-0: Absolutely gorgeous move by Llorente, but it comes to naught. Fakes the defender out of his shoes along the touchline. Very open and even game right now; we are controlling possession but Marc Janko is a serious threat. Matched up against Gonzalo, the aerial contest is no match. But better marking so far than against Fernando Llorente.
13', 0-0: Great chance for us off a corner but eventually sent over the bar. The Latin American commentators say that Gonzalo is our best aerial threat; what does that say about the strikers?
15', 0-0: And Salzburg miss a 1v1. Svento puts it wide; Diego Lopez did well but still some horrible defending. We've never done well in end-to-end games, so I'd like to see things settle down a bit.
18', 0-0: Rossi free kick flashes wide. Good chance.
21', 1-0 Salzburg: Teasing free kick touched in by the danger man Janko. Not really a deserved lead, but that's been happening to us a lot. Follows directly from a silly yellow card conceded by Angel, but by no means in a dangerous position. Man-marking fails us again.
30', 1-0 Salzburg: Great through ball from Bruno; Cani's shot tipped wide by the keeper but no corner given. Then Llorente has an open header from 6 yards out, set up on a platter by Cazorla. But he nudges it wide of the near post. Things just not going our way.
Halftime, 1-0 Salzburg: We don't really deserve to be behind, but so it goes. Lazio up 0-2 in Sofia, so we need a point here. Let's see what Nilmar brings to the table when he enters in the second half.
50', 1-0 Salzburg: Gonzalo gets a yellow for the team's dissent. Frustration that Cazorla was fouled just barely outside the box on a beautiful 1-2 with Llorente. Free kick deflected away for a corner.
52', 1-0 Salzburg: Huge, huge save by Diego Lopez. Cross knocked down by Janko to the oncoming Cameroonian attacker Tchoyi; kick save and a beauty.
57', 1-0 Salzburg: Marcos Senna in, Gonzalo out. Gonzalo had a bandage on his chin, likely from a Janko elbow. Senna also takes the captain's armband from Gonzalo. Eguren into central defense again? Seems likely. What in God's name is Valverde doing with our players?
64', 1-0 Salzburg: Escudero on for Cani. His first chance of the season at a pressure-packed moment. Good luck, kid. We have improved since Senna came on. Janko put one just wide.
76', 1-0 Salzburg: Nilmar on for Llorente. Last roll of the dice. If we lose this game and don't win on Sunday against Espanyol, then you can put me on the Fire Valverde bandwagon. Can our record signing save his job?
84', 2-0 Salzburg: Tchoyi seals the game for Salzburg. Unbelievably poor marking by Marcano and company. Tchoyi sets up camp in the box for a few seconds off a long throw-in, the ball ping-pongs around, and then he takes a shot that may have deflected in off a defender. This is the low point of our side in recent memory.
Fulltime, 2-0 Salzburg: The right result based on how things are going under Valverde. Pressure and ball possession yes, but no killer touch, confidence, or winning spirit. Sunday is a must-win for Valverde, considering that a two-week World Cup qualifier break follows. That's plenty of time to bring in a new coach.
Every single player could do a bit more; I look at this as a collective team failure. Give credit to Salzburg, especially Tchoyi and Janko up front, but we should have scored on their shaky back line as well. Back to our fans at the Madrigal on Sunday. Wonder how the reception will be?