Soler-tary goal sees Valencia top Real Valladolid
Sunday January 10th, 2021
Estadio José Zorrilla, Valladolid, Spain
REAL VALLADOLID 0
(Carlos Soler 76’)
A solitary goal from Valencia midfielder Carlos Soler was enough to push Los Che past Real Valladolid and snap a two-match unbeaten run in the league for the Blanquivioletas.
With defenders Jawad El Yamiq, Kiko Olivas, Raúl Carnero and Saidy Janko all unavailable, centre-back Javi Sánchez was the only remnant from the side which laboured to get past Marbella in the Copa del Rey on Tuesday night. They welcomed Javi Gracia’s outfit who had not won in the league since overcoming champions Real Madrid in early November and were two points behind their hosts in the table. To add to their woes, Valencia had failed to register a win in their last 19 away matches, but were unbeaten in their last eight visits to the José Zorrilla.
The match was a very open affair with both teams setting out their stalls early to attack. Roque Mesa hit the side-netting in the second minute as Real Valladolid signalled their intent to take the game to their struggling opponents, but Valencia responded by launching their own forays forward. Toni Villa was the next to find the outside of Jaume Domencech’s net after Soler lost possession and Shon Weissman found Roque Mesa who, in turn, fed the ball onto Villa but the midfielder could not hit the target.
Buoyed by consecutive league clean sheets in their two previous matches, Real Valladolid remained resolute and continued to deny a team who had only failed to find the net in four of their sixteen matches to date thus far.
Shortly before the half hour mark, Luis Pérez broke up an attack by the visitors by firstly blocking Denis Cheryshev’s shot and then sliding in to take the ball away from Kang-In Lee who looked set to unleash an effort on goal. Kike Pérez launched a quick counter-attack and played in Weissman, but the Israeli’s touch was too heavy and the ball ran on to be gathered by Domenech before he could attempt a shot.
Two minutes later, Jordi Masip was called into action at the other end. Uroš Račić won possession in the hosts half and Valencia moved the ball around the edge of Real Valladolid’s box. It fell to captain José Gayà and he cracked a half-volley from the corner of the box which darted past the outstretched Masip and slammed against the frame of the goal. It is arguable that Masip got the slightest touch from the tips of his gloves, but there was no time to debate as the rebound found it’s way to Soler and he returned the ball with interest. The Pucela captain scrambled to his feet just in time to acrobatically repel Soler’s drive to deny Los Che and preserve the unblemished scoresheet.
After the break, Weissman did his best to break the deadlock. A slack back-pass from Hugo Guillamon was seized upon by Villa and he threaded a pass through to the striker who was felled by Domenech in the box. As the hosts demanded a penalty, the referee waved away their cries and pointed to his assistant who had his flag raised. Less than five minutes later, Nacho Martínez played a ball over the top for Kike Pérez and his cross from the left narrowly missed connecting with Weissman. Real Valladolid were enjoying a good start to the period, aware perhaps of Valencia’s second-half frailties as no team had lost more points after the break than Los Che.
However, Gracia’s side grew more into the half after weathering the Pucela pressure. Maxi Gómez hit the base of Masip’s post from close range, and Manu Vallejo – scorer of a 94th minute equaliser the last time these teams met in Valladolid – was introduced in place of Lee. Three minutes after the substitution, Valencia took the lead through Soler. Račić’s sprayed the ball out to the left from a central position and Cheryshev let it run to the overlapping Gayà. He cut it back to Soler on the edge of the box who arrowed a shot straight down the middle. There will certainly be questions raised over Masip’s positioning as he seemed to be deceived by the flight of the ball but, regardless, it was a quality shot from the midfielder to bag his sixth goal of the season.
Sergio made a triple substitution as Fabián Orellana replaced Luis Pérez, Rubén Alcaraz came on for Roque Mesa and Jota made way for Sergi Guardiola to partner Weissman in a two-headed attack. The move almost paid dividends with five minutes to play, as Pablo Hervías flashed in an angled drive which made it’s way between the legs of a distraught Óscar Plano and agonisingly wide of Domenech’s right hand post.
The final nail in the coffin looked to have come through Vallejo. Soler played a deep freekick from the centre circle into the Real Valladolid box which was headed out as far as the Valencia number 8 again. He collected the loose ball and ran into the box, the ball was played across the face of the goal by Daniel Wass and was deflected into the path of Vallejo who slammed home past Masip. However, after a long consultation with video referees, the goal was annulled due to a slight offside in the build-up which looked marginal at best, and was crushing for Vallejo and his team-mates.
There was more to come from the visitors as they searched for the second goal. Substitute Yunus Musah burst down the right flank and shrugged off an agricultural shoulder-barge from Nacho on the touchline, which sent the left-back spinning to the ground. He squared the ball back to Vallejo but Masip was on his toes to repel the forward’s effort.
This double reprieve almost spelled salvation for Pucela. In the 96th minute, Orellana won a freekick after being hauled down by Thierry Correia. He played the resulting ball into a crowded box which was flicked on by the head of Guardiola, but spun onto the far post and was scrambled away by the Valencia defence who held on to clinch maximum points.
REAL VALLADOLID (4-2-3-1): Jordi Masip (Capt.); Nacho, Bruno, Javi Sánchez, Luis Pérez (Fabián Orellana 81’), Fede San Emeterio, Roque Mesa (Rubén Alcaraz 81’), Toni Villa (Óscar Plano 70’), Kike Pérez (Pablo Hervías 70’), Jota (Sergi Guardiola 82’), Shon Weissman.
Subs unused: Roverto; Joaquín, Ignasi Vilarrasa, Miguel Rubio, Míchel, Kuki Zalaza, Sergio Benito.
VALENCIA (4-4-2): Jaume Domenech; José Gayà (Capt.), Hugo Guillamon, Mouctar Diakaby, Thierry Correia, Denis Cheryshev (Toni Lato 90+1’), Uroš Račić, Carlos Soler, Daniel Wass (Yunus Musah 90+1’), Maxi Gómez, Kang-in Lee (Manuel Vallejo 73’).
Subs unused: Cristian Rivero; Eliaquim Mangala, Jason, Vicente Esquerdo, Koba Koindredi, Alex Blanco, Rubén Sobrino.