A disappointing performance from the Yellow Submarine, who hardly gave their travelling fans anything to cheer.
Valencia's lineup was weakened due to injuries, just as ours was, but the home side came out aggressively and pretty much everyone in the Mestalla thought Jaume Costa's challenge against Fede on the edge of the area, taking him down as he swept in on goal, was deserving of a penalty, or at least a dangerous free kick--this in the sixth minute. But the referee gave nothing.
Barragan got behind Jokic and should have opened the scoring ten minutes later, but Asenjo touched his shot wide. At the other end, the big drama was Valencia keeper Alves being injured and having to be replaced by Guaita. But whoever was in the goal at the end, they had little to do. There was one decent combination where Oliver pulled off a fine pass to Pina but his hurried shot was wide.
Valencia scored off a free-kick in the 35th minute--the original FK was deflected and ran to Javi Fuego, who hit a hard shot just inside Asenjo's right post--he had no chance. At that point it seemed maybe we could get into the half down by only one goal, but in the 44th minute Valencia had another free kick and our defense was all over the place, a wide-open Fuego poking the ball home.
To be honest, Jokic and Jaume Costa should both have picked up yellows, and Valencia defender Joao Pereira should have been sent off for a second yellow after stepping on Cani. Those two had been going at each other all day.
HT Shots on target: 3-0 to Valencia. Score: 2-0 to Valencia.
The second half began with a Villarreal attack, Gio was in 1-on-1....but was offside. Then not a lot happened for quite a while, to be honest. Valencia were content to make occasional forays forward, but mostly wanted to defend, which they did. On the hour mark Villarreal won its first corner of the day, but did nothing with it, of course. The home side could have gone 3-0 up off another set piece but somehow Keita found Asenjo rather than the net, and our keeper did well to parry a shot from Fede from close range, I think it was (I was having trouble with streams during this period).
Villarreal didn't make any changes at the break, but soon after our corner Aquino replaced Oliver, who managed to injure himself slightly while diving in the box (and receiving a somewhat harsh yellow). And then Perbet came on for the anonymous Uche, and with 12 minutes left Moi came on for Cani.
There was another Gio 1-on-1 called back (again correctly) for offside, a snatched Perbet attempt over the bar, and then, unbelievably, Villarreal scored with seven minutes left. It came right after Valencia had brought on Vargas to push for that 3-0 scoreline--from a Villarreal throw-in, a Valencia player passed the ball toward his keeper but Gio latched onto the ball and curled a hard shot home.
Could we actually get anything out of this? Well, no, the home side pretty much happy to defend the rest of the way. IF Perbet had been able to control the ball once, he could have been in with a chance, but he wasn't able to; and the referee only added two minutes of extra time. What, he had to get showered to watch the clasico or something?
FT Valencia 2-1 Villarreal
I hate to have been the pessimist that was proved right, since Ravi predicted a win and Sid a draw, but we just did not work either of Valencia's keepers in this game. Their back line is nothing special, but we never did anything to pull them out of shape and create any problems. Valencia were the better team on the day, and we didn't make them play very well to justify that.
We could really use a good performance against a struggling Getafe on Thursday, followed by a win at Elche on Sunday. Otherwise, we're going backwards in the race for Europe.