Honours even but Pucela cannot escape the drop zone
Saturday February 13th, 2021
Estadio Municipal de Ipurúa, Eibar, Spain
Kike García 23’
REAL VALLADOLID 1
Roque Mesa (Pen.) 7’
The points were shared at Ipurúa in a disappointing encounter which saw Real Valladolid unable to take advantage of an early lead. Roque Mesa put the visiting team ahead on seven minutes, converting a penalty after Sergi Guardiola had been fouled, but Eibar equalised through Kike García just over quarter of an hour later. The result does little for either side, as both remain in the positions they occupied coming into the match, but it was yet another opportunity squandered by Real Valladolid to pick up points against a direct rival who now have the advantage of a better head-to-head record should it be used to separate them at the season’s end.
Real Valladolid reverted to a 4-4-2 formation from the start. Defensively, Lucas Olaza made his second consecutive start since arriving, and Miguel Rubio earned his debut in place of the suspended Joaquín. Fede San Emeterio and Rubén Alcaraz missed the game through suspension too, so Jota made his first start since the loss to Valencia in Matchday 18. Ex-Eibar star, Fabián Orellana, returned to the line-up to face his former club in the absence of Óscar Plano and Pablo Hervías through injury. In attack, Sergi Guardiola was preferred to partner striker Shon Weissman over new signing Kenan Kodro.
Pucela took an early lead when Anaitz Arabilla, usually a right-back but playing out of position, clumsily brought Sergi Guardiola down in the box. The responsibility fell to Roque Mesa, who sent his spot kick to the left of goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic. The Serbian guessed the right way, but Mesa tucked the ball calmly inside the post to give his side the advantage.
Eibar responded well to falling behind and quickly began to control possession. They found success down the left flank with both fullback Rafa Soares and winger Bryan Gil foraging forward on numerous occasions. Gil displayed his talent at whipping crosses into the box and the back four of Pucela were forced into evasive action to clear the danger. Debutant Miguel Rubio gave a good account of himself in the early stages, blocking a shot on goal from Edu Expósito and tracking Kike García. However, the wily veteran got the better of the young defender on 23 minutes, scoring his seventh goal of the season from Gil’s delivery after the youngster had evaded Kike Pérez to find space to send in the cross.
Having been the provider for his side’s equaliser, Gil almost found himself as goal scorer as he narrowly missed being able to divert Takashi Inui’s angled through ball into the net, agonisingly watching his contact flash wide for a goal kick.
The visitors seemed to weather the storm and limited further opportunities for the Basque side. There was little in the way of scoring opportunities for Pucela, however, and Sergi Guardiola’s first-time strike after gathering a clever through-ball from Mesa was blocked by Arabilla as he looked to atone for his error in giving away the penalty.
At 1-1, the half-time score reflected the balance of play.
Eibar started the second period well, sending a cross into the Pucela area within 30 seconds of the restart which set alarm bells ringing, but the game dried up for the next fifteen minutes. Real Valladolid got the ball into the back of the net on the hour mark when Lucas Olaza’s free-kick was turned home by Miguel Rubio, but the defender had narrowly strayed into an offside position as the ball was delivered and he was denied a dream debut goal by the assistant referee’s flag.
In the first of his three changes, Sergio sacrificed Weissman – who had been largely anonymous throughout – for Kodro and the Israeli directed a frustrated glare at the bench as he trudged off the pitch.
Rubio was performing admirably in his opening appearance for the first-team and did well to stifle another Eibar attack. Gil had laid the ball out to Expósito and continued his run, but when the ball was clipped over the top in return, the Promesas graduate was there to cut out the cross.
As the defensive absentee situation appears to be beginning to resolve itself, Saidy Janko was brought on for his first action since December 11th, replacing Jota in the second substitution which saw Orellana switch to the left wing.
The final quarter of an hour brought little of note, aside from Olaza picking up a yellow card for remonstrating with the assistant referee over a decision regarding a corner, and he will miss next week’s visit of Real Madrid to the José Zorrilla. Míchel replaced Mesa with a minute to play, but Sergio looked to have settled for a point by this stage and the match petered out to a frustrating conclusion, with Real Valladolid continuing to be rooted in the relegation zone.
Eibar (4-4-2): Marko Dmitrovic; Rafa Soares (José Ángel 64’), Anaitz Arabilla, Paulo Oliveira, Alejandro Pozo, Bryan Gil, Edu Expósito, Pape Diop, Takashi Inui, Kike García (Capt.) (Yoshinori Muto 79’), Sergi Enrich.
Subs unused: Yoel Rodríguez; Esteban Burgos, Pedro Bigas, Sergio Álvarez, José Recio, Pedro León, Quique González, Aleix García.
Real Valladolid (4-4-2): Jordi Masip (Capt.); Lucas Olaza, Bruno, Miguel Rubio, Luis Pérez, Jota (Saidy Janko 74’), Kike Pérez, Roque Mesa (Míchel 89’), Fabián Orellana, Shon Weissman (Kenan Kodro 68’), Sergi Guardiola.
Subs unused: Roberto; Nacho, Oriol Rey, Toni Villa, Kuki Zalazar, Waldo.