Heartbreak in Granada
LA LIGA SANTANDER
ESTADIO NUEVO LOS CÁRMENES, SPAIN
Antonio Puertas 81’
Carlos Fernández 90+6’
REAL VALLADOLID 1
Sergi Guardiola 15’
A last gasp goal from Carlos Fernández consigned Real Valladolid to a disappointing defeat in a match where they took a second-half lead through Sergi Guardiola, after the striker had caught out Granada goalkeeper Rui Silva at his near post. However, a poor final ten minutes of the match saw them relinquish their advantage to a controversial Antonio Puertas equaliser before Fernández struck in the 96th minute.
Sergio made two changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Villarreal in their last outing. Fede San Emeterio – who spent last season on loan with Granada – replaced Míchel in midfield and Sandro dropped to the bench to make way for Guardiola who was returning from injury having missed last week’s encounter. There was no place in the squad for Hatem Ben Arfa after his brief cameo appearance last week, and fellow new arrival Matheus Fernandes also did not feature.
The opening half an hour of the match was a tentative affair with neither side making an impact on the scoreboard. The hosts came closest during this time when Maxime Gonalons played a ball over the Real Valladolid defensive line for Carlos Fernández. The striker, on loan from Sevilla, controlled well and managed to chip the ball neatly over the on-rushing Jordi Masip, but Mohammed Salisu showed his defensive awareness by tracking back and hooking the ball away on the line. At the other end, Óscar Plano fired a long-range salvo which whistled narrowly over Silva’s bar.
Although Pucela had the upper hand in terms of possession, Granada made Masip the busier of the two goalkeepers. On 35 minutes, he had to be alert to tip an awkward, bouncing effort from Gonalons over the frame of the goal following a short corner. Had the midfielder been able to make cleaner contact on the ball, it would have created a far bigger problem for the visitors. Shortly before halftime, the Real Valladolid number 1 was called into action again as he pushed away a deep corner from the left-hand side and the sides retired for the break with honours even.
The visitors appeared to have woken up during the interval and Enes Ünal almost made the breakthrough within seven minutes of the restart. Óscar Plano provided a delightful ball into the feet of the striker who switched the ball onto his left foot and advanced on goal, but Rui Silva stood tall and deflected Ünal’s shot to deny the Turk his fifth goal of the season.
However, less than five minutes later that exact figure was attained by his strike partner. Guardiola received the ball on the left flank and, as he looked to deliver the ball onto the penalty spot, he surprised Silva by aiming a shot at his near post. Caught unawares, the goalkeeper scrambled back but could only tip the ball onto the base of the post causing it to spin across the face of goal and creep in via the opposite post.
The response from El Graná was immediate and they came very close to replying through Darwin Machís, who had been introduced moments before Guardiola broke the stalemate. Dmitri Foulquier sent a ball across the area from the right and the Venezuelan ghosted in at the back post, but his sweeping first-time drive hit the side netting. Diego Martínez made his second change of the match, Puertas replaced captain Víctor Díaz on the hour which saw his side switch to a flat back four.
Guardiola – who switched sides with Ünal regularly throughout the match – tested Silva from the left again, going for the near post for the second time, but the ‘keeper was wise to it by this point. Álvaro Vadillo, labouring through a relatively quiet performance, made way for Fede Vico in Granada’s final change. Sergio made two substitutions of his own. Firstly, he exchanged Waldo for Toni Villa (a curious move as the left-winger had been plying his trade well down the flank) to provide attacking assistance up top to Ünal, then swapped out Guardiola – who was showing signs of slowing down – for Míchel. Instead of consolidating the lead they held, however, Real Valladolid began to lose their way somewhat after the changes and allowed Granada to regain a foothold in the match.
In the 81st minute, the hosts were back on level terms. Machís found Puertas with a cross from the left as Moyano failed to stem the delivery, and the forward rose in the box to divert the ball past Masip. Immediately, the Pucela defence appealed for handball as Puertas tapped the top of his shoulder and the goal was reviewed under the microscope of VAR. Ultimately, the referee seemed satisfied that the striker had turned the ball in with the very back of his shoulder and awarded the equaliser.
As the clock moved into stoppage time Óscar Plano attempted to nudge his side back in front, but his tame effort was held comfortably low down by Silva. It was perhaps no surprise then when the hammer blow fell in the dying embers of the match as Fernández controlled Vico’s delivery in from the right and twisted past the challenge of Kiko Olivas before slotting home low past Masip to send the Los Cármenes crowd into a frenzy.
It was a particularly cruel way to end what had been a very evenly-matched encounter, but – as has become customary – it is clear that Real Valladolid have issues protecting any slender leads that they work so hard to etch out. It was evident in the matches against Villarreal and Valencia in the league, as well as when they crashed out of the Copa del Rey to Tenerife. The next match comes at home to in-form Espanyol who look nothing like a bottom-of-the-table side, having garnered ten points from their last ten league matches, with just the one defeat to bear during that span.
GRANADA (5-4-1): Rui Silva; Carlos Neva, José Martínez, Germán Sánchez, Víctor Díaz (Capt.) (Antonio Puertas 60’), Dmitri Foulquier, Álvaro Vadillo (Fede Vico 71’), Maxime Gonalons, Yangel Herrera, Gil Días (Darwin Machís 53’), Carlos Fernández.
Substitutes unused: Aaron Escandell; Ismail Köybasi, Brice Yan Eteki, Ramon Azeez.
REAL VALLADOLID (4-4-2): Jordi Masip; Raúl Carnero, Mohammed Salisu, Kiko Olivas, Javi Moyano (Capt.), Toni Villa (Waldo 75’), Fede San Emeterio, Rubén Alcaraz, Óscar Plano (Antoñito 93’), Enes Ünal, Sergi Guardiola (Míchel 79’).
Substitutes unused: Samu Pérez; Pedro Porro, Javi Sánchez, Sandro.