Sunday, 13 March 2011

Match Report: Real Zaragoza 4 Valencia 0

Valencia’s week went from bad to worse with a crushing 4-0 defeat at La Romareda. Goals from Jiri Jarosik, Ander Herrera and two Gabi penalties taking the home side out of the relegation zone.

Unai Emery didn’t surprise with his team selection, making five changes from the side that had lost to Schalke in midweek. Marius Stankevicius, Jordi Alba, Tino Costa, Roberto Soldado and Jonas coming into the side. Ikechukwu Uche started up front for the hosts in the absence of Florent Sinima Pongolle.

Valencia lacked their usual organisation all night and were behind from a set-piece within five minutes. Javier Paredes’ deep cross headed in by Jiri Jarosik.

Uche and Nicolas Bertolo had chances to double the lead in the first quarter whilst the visitors rarely threatened. Los Che’s best opportunity coming from a fine cross by Alba that Jarosik did well to intercept ahead of Soldado.

Uche just failed to connect with a Bertolo cross six minutes before the break but within a minute the hosts had deservedly doubled their lead and what a goal it was. A swift counter attack found Uche on the right and his beautifully flighted through ball put Ander through on goal, with time to steady himself the man who will be joining rivals Athletic Bilbao next season cheekily finishing through Vicente Guaita’s legs.

Valencia never recovered despite the introduction of Juan Mata giving them slightly more cutting edge for a brief period in the second half.

The game was finished as a contest on 63 minutes when Stankevicius held back Bertolo in the area. The Argentine’s fall was melodramatic in the extreme but there was just enough contact to justify the penalty award, however, the dismissal of the Lithuanian for a second yellow card was harsh. Gabi comfortably dispatching the spot-kick by sending Guaita the wrong way.

With 15 minutes to go the wonderfully named Gonzalez Gonzalez then awarded a more contentious penalty to the hosts. David Albelda punished despite appearing to make no contact with Braulio. Gabi successfully repeating his earlier penalty to Guaita’s right.

The final period of the match was very stale with Valencia restricted to keeping the score down and Zaragoza more than happy with their evening’s work.

A huge victory for Javier Aguirre’s men sees them leap up to 15th in the table, four points clear of the relegation zone. Valencia, meanwhile, remain only four points ahead of Villarreal in third.

FT: Real Zaragoza 4 (Jarosik 5, Ander 41, Gabi (pen 63 & 75) – Valencia 0

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