Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Midweek round up

So, the first knockout round of this year's UEFA cup competition. Finishing second in their group meant that Valencia faced a tough draw against a team coming through from the CL. Dynamo Kiev were the home team, and they will have fancied their chances against a Valencia side missing more than half of it's regular defence. The away side needed to prove that they have what it takes to go all the way in this competition, with this being their last remaining hope for silverware this season.

It was snowing hard in Dynamo, unsurprisingly. Unai Emery fielded an arguably weakened side, with players such as Veeyah, Vicente (not that this is anything new) and Joaquin on the bench at the start. Having said that, it was still a more than strong enough starting 11 to be in with a chance. The game started off fast and furious, Silva getting fouled within 2 minutes. Thankfully, he was fine, and believe me, there'd have been trouble if he wasn't! He got fouled again just 3 minutes later. Seriously, stop picking on the boy. Some absolutely shocking defending nearly led to the Dynamo opener after 7 minutes. Thankfully, the ball was too high and the danger had passed. For now. Against the run of play, just a minute later, some great play on the wing from Mata led to the opening goal. Silva was perfectly placed to slot the ball into the back of the net after Mata's brilliant pass. It was a precious away goal, but still nothing was certain. In recent times, Valencia have often found themselves a goal up early on, only to let it slip later in the game. Living up to their rep, the defence was all over the place, and Dynamo nearly equalised twice within the space of two minutes, only luck keeping the score at 1-0 for the away team. After a very busy first 15, the game seemed to quieten down a little. Valencia were getting kicked all over the pitch by Dynamo (and shock horror, the referee gave nothing. Story of my life). Dynamo again came close to equalising on 25 minutes, a foul by Albelda leading to a free kick, which was well taken by Cesar. Valencia were still on the attack though, and missed a great chance to go 2-0 up after 29 minutes. Having watched their defensive frailties lately, it was vital they got another goal, but they had to be careful of leaving the defence exposed. As the game wore on, the defence grew in confidence. Another nervy moment followed on 32 minutes, Cesar blocking a shot, but the ball rebounded into the path of a Dynamo player, who thankfully put the ball wide. The first yellow card of the game was finally shown to a Dynamo player after 36 minutes. About effing time and all, I'd lost count of how many times I'd seen Valencia players picking themselves up off the floor.

The second half started a little shakily for Valencia. Cesar spilled the ball, again giving Dynamo a chance to equalise, but again, they did not take it. Valencia had to stop riding their luck like this though, eventually they would get punished for their mistakes. Albiol gave away a free kick in a very dangerous position about 5 minutes into the half, but thankfully, the wall did it's job and stood firm. Silva was continually getting kicked about, and the referee didn't seem to want to do anything about it. Bastard. And so it goes, despite my numerous warnings, Valencia conceded the inevitable goal. Sure, it was a handball, but when did the referees ever care about small details like that? I mean, they gave a goal for Sevilla even though the guy who scored it was miles offside. And then, as if this referee hadn't fucked them over enough already, he booked Silva. Yes, it was a yellow card, but still. The boy has been fouled HOW many times?? Anyway, while I was busy being all angry about that, the referee sent off a Dynamo player (the goalscorer from what I gathered) for a second booking. Fear me, referees. Having seen enough, Unai brought on the big guns. Well, one of them anyway. Veeyah replaced Silva on 60 minutes, the latter already on a yellow and with a fiery temper, it was a good decision by the Valencia manager. Minutes later, Joaquin was coming on for Pablo.

With 15 minutes to go, it wasn't looking too great for Valencia, the curse of the defence had struck again (although in all fairness, this time, it wasn't their fault) and even against 10 men, they were struggling somewhat. The referee was getting more and more card happy as time wore on. Valencia should have had a PK when Del Horno was hauled down, but apparently, that's not enough anymore. Baraja came on for Fernandes with 10 minutes left as Valencia looked to keep the score the way it was. I had a heart attack or ten when Cesar went down, especially seeing as Valencia had already made all three substitutions. Things were going from bad to worse for them. Thankfully, he was able to continue and Valencia kept enough posession to avoid him having to make too many movements that would expose his injury. An offside decision and a Dynamo substitution later, and it was all over. An awful decision from the referee to allow a clear handball as a goal costing Valencia the game. Though in all fairness, they should have done much better against 10 men for half an hour. Unai didn't play Vicente - again. This confused me because he's fast. Really fast. He'd have caused some serious problems for the Dynamo defence. Then again, at least he was wrapped up warm and at less risk of catching a cold...
The return leg is in just over a week's time. Fingers crossed for a Valencia win then.


GO said...

WOW. Pretty detailed match report!

We'll kick their a**es at home don't worry!! :D