A point earned? A point lost?
LA LIGA SANTANDER ROUND 6
ESTADIO JOSÉ ZORRILLA, VALLADOLID, SPAIN
REAL VALLADOLID 1
(Óscar Plano 12’)
(Carlos Fernández 42’)
For the second consecutive home match, Real Valladolid scratched out a 1-1 draw; this time with league-newcomers Granada. Óscar Plano took advantage of some skilful play by Toni Villa to put the home side ahead, but they conceded to Carlos Fernández three minutes before the interval.
Diego Martínez’s side were brimming in confidence going into this match following a series of positive results which had seen them momentarily scale the standings. The Rojiblancos dispatched champions Barcelona at home in the previous round of games and had already beaten Celta on their own turf, so this was a test that the hosts did not take lightly.
Granada scaled back their attacking formation which had borne fruit against Barcelona, opting for two forwards instead of three. Veteran striker Roberto Soldado dropped to the bench for the first time this season and was joined by fellow strike-partner Darwin Machís. Álvaro Vadillo, who came on as a replacement to score the second goal in the win over the champions, was preferred in left midfield to Yangel Herrera and José Martínez earned his first berth in the starting eleven at central defender.
Sandro and Sergi Guardiola continued their pairing up front but Real Valladolid made several changes to the line-up who had fallen 2-0 at Villarreal on Saturday. Míchel was named as a substitute along with Pedro Porro, with both having had arguably forgettable performances against Villarreal. Nacho returned at left-back and Antoñito dropped out of the squad. Óscar Plano switched back to the right flank to accommodate the inclusion of Toni Villa after occupying the opposite side last week.
It was the latter partnership who combined with such good effect to push Pucela into the lead after less than quarter of an hour. The home side built well down the left-hand side and Nacho delivered a quality ball down to Sergi Guardiola who reached the by-line and cut it back into the path of Toni Villa. He showed great balance and a deftness of touch to weave between the Granada defence and left visiting captain Victor Díaz in his wake as he squared a ball back to Óscar Plano who knocked it home confidently from close range with his left foot.
It was no more than they deserved from a bright opening period of play and Pucela looked good value for their lead and they pressed to double the advantage. However, despite their industry, soft defending allowed their opponents back into the game shortly before halftime. Antonio Puertas played the ball out wide on the right to Díaz who had got himself into a position deep within the Real Valladolid half. The right-back zipped a teasing ball into the box where Fernández had ghosted into a gap in the defence and he slotted the ball past Jordi Masip in the home goal to level the contest.
After the break, Sandro came close to ending his barren run without scoring as he stung the palms of Rui Silva with a rasping drive that the Granada goalkeeper did well to deflect. Less convincing goalkeeping occurred at the other end of the field when Masip awkwardly parried Ángel Montoro’s freekick. The rebound fell neatly to the feet of Yangel Herrera who swept the ball past the despairing goalkeeper, but his blushes were saved (even if the shot was not) by VAR which showed that defender Domingos Duarte had strayed marginally offside as Montoro initially struck the ball.
Enes Ünal, who replaced Sergi Guardiola with a little over 20 minutes remaining spurned a good chance after finding himself on the end of a long ball heaved deep into the Granada half from Fede San Emeterio. The Turkish striker had to approach the goal at an angle, but his left foot effort lacked any bite and was gathered without issue by Rui Silva.
Debate will surround whether it was a point gained or lost for Sergio’s side. He will be disappointed to have surrendered an early lead, but – given Granada’s fine run of form combined with the disallowed goal in this match – one might argue that this was a positive outcome for Pucela.
Next up for the blanquivioletas is a trip to Barcelona to take on Espanyol, where they have prevailed just twice out of 14 meetings in league and cup competitions dating back to 1999.
REAL VALLADOLID: Jordi Masip; Nacho, Mohammed Salisu, Kiko Olivas, Javi Moyano (Capt.); Toni Villa (Pablo Hervías 73’), Fede San Emeterio, Rubén Alcaraz, Óscar Plano; Sergi Guardiola (Enes Ünal 69’), Sandro.
Substitutes unused: Andriy Lunin; Pedro Porro, Joaquín; Míchel, Waldo.
GRANADA: Rui Silva; Carlos Neva, José Martínez (Germán Sánchez 79’), Domingos Duarte, Victor Díaz (Capt.); Álvaro Vadillo, Ángel Montoro, Maxime Gonalons (Yangel Herrera 62’), Antonio Puertas; Adrián Ramos (Darwin Machis 57’), Carlos Fernández.
Substitutes unused: Aaron Escandell; Ismail Köybasi; Ramon Azeez; Roberto Soldado.
Image: Real Valladolid C.F. / LaLiga