Monday, 19 October 2009

Valencia - Barca

So, I am finally getting off my ass to do one of these match report-y things, seeing as it was such an amazing game and I need to talk about it like whoa. This weekend just gone, Valencia hosted Barcelona at the Mestalla. And oh my good god, what a game. It may have ended in a goalless draw, but that doesn't mean it wasn't exciting.

Of course, prior to this game, there was much talk of the leagues two top strikers being pitted against each other and it was expected to be a high scoring event. Injury ruled out Dahveed Veeyah for the home side, and also prevented Zlatan Ibrahimovic from being used. Even so, there were plenty of other talking points.

Valencia FLEW out of the starting blocks, Valdes being forced into a save from Pablo roughly a minute and a half after kick off. That pretty much highlighted how the game was going to be. Even with Perez Burrull as a referee (for those of you who don't know my issues with this man, see here) they fought and fought for the point.

The first half was almost entirely dominated by Valencia. Around the 30th minute, statistics showed that Barca had yet to force Cesar into action, which meant one of two things. Either the defence was doing it's job or the ball just wasn't getting to Barcelona's attack. For the most part, it was the latter. Mata and Pablo were the most influential in terms of goalscoring opportunities, the two of them running the Barca defence ragged. Pablo in particular had a really strong game, his runs were the focal point of most of Valencia's attack. Mata was doing rather well in taking on the role of chief offsider, even though as usual with Valencia, approximately 29384 of the 29385 offsides given against him actually wasn't one.

The central midfield of Albelda and Ever did a great job keeping Xavi and Iniesta quiet, and Messi was almost anonymous throughout the first half. And even though we all know how quick Burrull is with the card, surprisingly, he didn't book Albelda until late on in the game. Considering that Vampy's first foul was is like...the 5th minute, that's some serious holding back from my favourite La Liga ref.

The second half gave Barca a little more of a route into the game, with their usual attacking football trying to shine through but being somewhat stifled. Valencia continued pressing, with Pablo spotting Valdes off his line and trying to chip the ball over the Barcelona keeper from the halfway line. Some speedy backtracking saw the ball safely over the crossbar.

Dani Alves was doing fuck all to get himself off my 'I hate you so much, I wish you would just disappear from this planet' list, attempting to score and when that didn't work, throwing himself to the ground in a very amateur dramatics style to try and get Ever (who was on a booking already at this point) sent off. Replays showed there was contact, but it was so minimal, it wasn't even worth bothering with. Had he been able to con Burrull into sending Banega off, I would have thrown the bitch fit to end all bitch fits.

As I expected, it wasn't until the 80th minute Burrull even realised there was another team other than Valencia on the pitch that he could go card happy with. Valencia ended with 5 yellow cards to Barca's two, and I wouldn't say the home team committed that many more fouls. He was just a lot more lenient to Barca's because, well...they're Barca.

After the game, it was the same old bullshit being spouted. Barca were having an off game. Valencia should have walked away with all three points, but they're too incompetant to do so. Blah. Blah. Fucking. Blah. Whatever all those people say, Valencia did something no other team has managed to do this season. They took points off Barca. And if you would care to look here you would see they did it with half their regular starters in the stands injured. Yeah. Next time you want to bitch out on my team, come and say it to my face. I don't mind if people badmouth them with good reason, but to say they only got a point because Barca were shit and not because Valencia were good - out of line.