Late Quini dagger sees danger creep closer
Estadio José Zorrilla, Valladolid, Spain
Sunday April 11th, 2021
Fabián Orellana (Pen.) 42’
Jorge Molina 78’; Quini 86’
Disaster struck yet again in the final moments as Real Valladolid surrendered a half-time lead to Granada, allowing the visitors to score twice inside the final 12 minutes and claim all three points. Fabián Orellana’s fourth penalty of the season gave his side the lead shortly before half-time, but Granada replied through veteran striker Jorge Molina inside the final quarter of an hour, before left-back Quini smashed home past Jordi Masip with four minutes to play.
Lying just one point above the relegation zone, Pucela were in desperate need of a win and the odds appeared to lie in their favour for a change. They held the upper hand in matches played at the José Zorrilla and faced an opponent who had posted the worst away record in the league thus far and were coming into this match after midweek European exertions. Sergio’s side could take heart too from their performance at Camp Nou on Monday, where they fell to a single goal despite making life extremely uncomfortable for Barcelona for large periods of the meeting. He made two changes to his line-up; Toni Villa entered the starting eleven for the first time since January’s 2-2 draw at Levante and – having played a left wing-back role in a 3-5-2 look on Monday – Nacho dropped to the bench to accommodate the return of Orellana from suspension.
With such a hectic run of matches, it was little surprise that Granada manager Diego Martínez made wholesale changes to his team. Jesús Vallejo was the only member of the back four to be retained from Thursday’s 2-0 Europa League loss to Manchester United. Quini replaced Carlos Neva at left-back, captain Germán Sánchez returned and Dmitiri Foulquier was preferred at right-back to Victor Díaz. Yan Brice Eteki joined Maxime Gonalons in the double-pivot ahead of Yangel Herrera, while Ángel Montoro and Kenedy made way for Fede Vico and Darwin Machís respectively. 38-year-old Molina assumed the lone striker role in relief of the suspended Roberto Soldado.
It was the visitors who came out of the traps quickest and certainly did not appear to be jaded from having played their 49th match of the season – the most of any team in Spain – just three days earlier. Masip needed to alert inside five minutes to turn Eteki’s deft touch over the bar after the midfielder had stolen in behind Rubén Alcaraz and got a toe to Antonio Puertas’ driven delivery. Molina headed a deep corner back into the mix and, when Roque Mesa could not get any power to a headed clearance, Germán nodded the ball on target but Masip gathered the weak effort.
Machís was next to try his luck as the Nasrids continued their early assault on Masip’s goal, curling a shot just wide of the far post after cutting inside the box neatly. Quini stung the palms of the Pucela skipper with a long drive.
Real Valladolid weathered the early storm and began to settle into the match. Orellana moved towards the Granada box and fed the ball left to Sergi Guardiola who saw his angled shot blocked Rui Silva. Toni Villa was on hand, but the outstretched Germán denied him a clear effort at goal and his shot was scuffed wide. Kenan Kodro, who hit the bar in the opening minutes against Barcelona, headed narrowly over Rui Silva’s woodwork while being challenged by Vallejo. Guardiola, too, aimed a header at goal from Villa’s cross despite the attentions of Germán and Foulquier but Silva handled with ease.
The hosts won a penalty following a clumsy challenge by Vallejo. Villa played the ball on to Orellana and his neat flick fell into the path of Kodro, but the on-loan striker was bundled over by the Granada central defender and there was no hesitation in the award of a spot-kick. Orellana, successful with all three of his previous penalties, remained flawless by smashing the ball past Silva for his fifth goal of the season, giving his side the lead at the break.
At half-time, Sergio was forced into making his first change as Javi Sánchez – blighted by injuries since his arrival in the summer of 2019 – finished the first period in some discomfort and was unable to continue.
The second half was a messy affair, peppered with yellow cards and finger pointing as both teams felt the pressure of the business end of the season weighing on them. Referee Carlos del Cerro cautioned three Pucela players – Saidy Janko, Alcaraz and Masip – in the space of two minutes, with the latter two being for protestations.
Sergio replaced Villa with Pablo Hervías on 65 minutes, adding Marcos André three minutes after Bruno became the fourth Real Valladolid player to find himself in the official’s book.
In pursuit of his first goal in white and violet since his January arrival, Kodro once again clipped the woodwork with a faint touch from Hervías’ delivery after Real Valladolid had enjoyed a spell of possession while circumnavigating the Granada box.
The Nasrids had the ball in the net two minutes after this, following Masip’s fumble of a Machís header. The goalkeeper spilled the ball into the path of Puertas, who turned home the rebound but had been in an offside position.
The escape was short-lived, however, with former Getafe striker Molina capitalising on a return pass from Foulquier to place the ball out of Masip’s reach for his fifth goal of the campaign.
Machís came close to icing the match on a fast breakaway, showing his speed before lifting the ball past the home goalkeeper from an angle, only to see it bounce narrowly wide.
Shon Weissman entered the fray for Guardiola, and Nacho replaced Janko as Real Valladolid moved to a 3-5-2 formation again in minute 84.
Neither player had been on the pitch in time to make any contribution before finding themselves looking on in anguish as Granada went ahead. Defender Quini collected the ball on the corner of the Real Valladolid area and unleashed a thunderbolt which flew past Masip and into the top left corner. This was enough to see the Andalusain side complete the comeback and emerge victorious, consigning Real Valladolid to yet another late heartbreak.
This loss means that Pucela have a ten-day wait until they face Elche, the side directly below them in the first of the relegation places, in a do-or-die fight which will have massive implications for each team’s chance of survival.
REAL VALLADOLID (4-4-2): Jordi Masip (Capt.); Lucas Olaza, Javi Sánchez (Miguel Rubio 46'), Bruno González, Saidy Janko (Nacho Martínez 84'), Fabián Orellana, Rubén Alcaraz, Roque Mesa, Toni Villa (Pablo Hervías 65'), Kenan Kodro (Shon Weissman 84'), Sergi Guardiola (Marcos André 72').
Subs unused: Roberto Jiménez; Luis Pérez, Oriol Rey, Waldo Rubio.
GRANADA (4-2-3-1): Rui Silva; Quini, Germán Sánchez, Jesus Vallejo, Dmitri Foulquier, Maxime Gonalons (Luis Suárez 65'), Yan Brice Eteki, Antonio Puertas, Fede Vico (Ángel Montoro 55'), Darwin Machís, Jorge Molina (Victor Díaz 85').
Subs unused: Aaron Escandell, Arnau Fàbrega; Nehuén Pérez, Carlos Neva, Adrián Marín, Quina, Yangel Hererra.
Referee: Carlos del Cerro