Weak showing ends in another defeat
Estadio Mendizorrotza, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
Friday February 5th, 2021
DEPORTIVO ALAVÉS 1
REAL VALLADOLID 0
A solitary goal from Joselu was enough to push Deportivo Alavés past a spineless and uninspired Real Valladolid in the standings, meaning Sergio’s men have now gone five games in the league without a win.
Limited to just one shot on target, Real Valladolid were tame from the outset and paid the price when the home striker netted twenty minutes into the second half, diverting substitute Martín Aguirregabiria’s cross from the right flank past Jordi Masip.
The Pucela captain was one of the few bright spots in another dismal performance, making a string of saves which kept his side in the match while his opposite number, Fernando Pacheco, was a relative spectator for much of the game.
In his 200th match in charge as a manager, the pressure continues to grow on Sergio and he spent large periods of the defeat looking lost and without an answer. In a bizarre substitution, he replaced Pablo Hervías – who was one of the few in white and violet looking capable of producing anything positive – with Toni Villa as part of a triple change on 63 minutes. It was not so much the player being brought on which was questionable, as Villa had scored in consecutive matches prior to this one, but the removal of the energetic Hervías. Perhaps it was just coincidence that three minutes later, the hosts took the lead.
Anyone who suggests that there was a positive to take from this match is most likely mistaken. Three days after the world-famous Groundhog Day celebration, it was a case of living the same moments again and again. There was little to draw inspiration from as Real Valladolid looked beleaguered and consigned to defeat as soon as they fell behind. Given that Alavés were below them in the standings, it was surprising that – even in Sergio’s ever-cautious approach – no player stepped up and attempted to change the course of the match. Not even the debut of left-back Lucas Olaza could be disguised as a plus, as he failed to pressure Aguirregabiria before the cross was provided, instead giving the substitute plenty time and space to be able to drive the ball in low to the feet of his striker.
With three losses in all competitions behind them, the immediate future looks bleak for the blanquivioletas without some catalyst for change.
This match represented the second of three key matches against sides who could all be considered direct rivals to Real Valladolid’s survival chances; Huesca, Alavés and Eibar. Having failed to collect a single point from the first two, they now head into the third – and possibly trickiest – of them all. Eibar have a very winnable match to come this weekend against fellow strugglers Osasuna and could, very conceivably, be three points ahead of Pucela by the time the sides square up to each other. To make matters worse, they will be without the services of Joaquín, Rubén Alcaraz and Fede San Emeterio, whose bookings in this match lifted them above the disciplinary threshold and into a one-match suspension. It seems difficult to accept that, based upon recent evidence , Real Valladolid will manage to take maximum points.
The long, cold winter shows no signs of thawing.
DEPORTIVO ALAVÉS (4-4-2): Fernando Pacheco; Rubén Duarte, Florian Lejeune, Alberto Rodríguez, Ximo Navarro (Martín Aguirregabiria 60’), Luis Rioja (Iñigo Córdoba 60’), Tomás Pina, Manu García (Capt.) (Rodrigo Andrés Battaglia 82’), Edgar Méndez, Joselu (Deyverson 90+1’), Lucas Pérez.
Subs unused: Antonio Sivera; Victor Laguardia, Javi López, Burgui, Pere Pons, Jota, Borja Sainz, Facundo Pellestri.
REAL VALLADOLID (4-2-3-1): Jordi Masip (Capt.); Lucas Olaza, Bruno, Joaquín, Luis Pérez, Fede San Emeterio, Roque Mesa (Rubén Alcaraz 63’), Óscar Plano (Fabián Orellana 79’), Kike Pérez (Kenan Kodro 63’), Pablo Hervías (Toni Villa 63’), Shon Weissman (Waldo 79’).
Subs unused: Roberto; Nacho, Oriol Rey, Miguel Rubio, Míchel, Kuki Zalazar.