Valencia denied by late goal
A late strike denied Valencia all three points as another impressive display saw them draw 1-1 with reigning champions Real Madrid at the Mestalla. The hosts came into this game in 2nd spot, with Barcelona having played earlier in the evening, knowing victory would return them to the top. Midfielder Uros Racic is still absent, meaning youngster Yunus Musah was once again given the nod in midfield, while Real Madrid were without Eden Hazard, suffering from a groin injury, and Karim Benzema, with hip problems, while Éder Militão was suspended for the encounter.
Valencia underlined their intent going close just 2 minutes in, with winger Gonçalo Guedes allowed to carry the ball cross field, before he then laid off for Soler. The ball was then fed wide for Daniel Wass, and when his cross was met first time by Kevin Gameiro, the Real Madrid backline did well to block the initial attempt, before his second effort on the rebound flashed just wide of the upright with Thibaut Courtois scrambling.
The visitors failed to heed the warning, and found themselves falling behind just four minutes later after a sensational piece of football from the hosts. Starting on the right with a Wass throw-in, the full back interchanged quick passes with both Gameiro and Musah before eventually switching the ball inside to Guedes. The winger laid back off for Musah, who carried the ball across the edge of the area before finding midfield partner Soler, who quickly switched play back out to Wass on the wing. This time the Danish international back-heeled to Guedes. With Yunus Musah lurking on the edge of the area, the Portuguese winger teed him up, the former Arsenal youngster giving Courtois no chance as his piledriver flew into the top corner.
At the other end, Real Madrid started to grow into the game with Dani Carvajal and Ángel Di María looking to cause particular problems down the right. Half an hour in the pair combined before midfielder Toni Kroos then tried to slip in Luka Jovic, Valencia keeper Jasper Cillessen doing well to react quickest to come out and smoother the ball. Valencia then launched a quick counter attack, the ball eventually breaking for Kevin Gameiro who again fired just wide of the target as Valencia looked to double their lead.
Just inside the hour mark, visitors Real were again grateful for Courtois as he prevented Valencia extending their advantage. A searching ball forward from Gabriel Paulista at the back found former Real Madrid winger Cheryshev in space on the wing. He took a touch before finding Soler inside, who in turn played a quick ball forward for Maxi Gómez, the Uruguayan losing his marker Sergio Ramos to get a shot away, but Belgian shot-stopper Courtois equal to the challenge as he got down well to his near post to produce a great save.
Valencia then tried another counter, this time a deep Ødegaard free kick being cleared up to Cheryshev, who picked out Gameiro wide right. The striker cut inside, turning the ball on for strike partner Maxi Gómez, but Raphaël Varane was able to deny the forward getting his shot away with a superb last ditch tackle. Valencia made several changes in an attempt to see out the game, as their high intensity press saw players begin to tire, Mangala, Vieirinha, Correia, Smith Rowe and Antonio Valencia all coming on in the closing stages of the game.
Inside 10 minutes to go, Real Madrid finally found an equaliser, although Valencia will be frustrated as they had done more than enough to win this one. Argentine winger Ángel Di María broke down the right before attempting to cut inside. Substitute Thierry Correia did superb to initially tackle the former PSG man, who only returned to Real Madrid this season, but as the ball broke the international unleashed an unstoppable fierce shot that was just too powerful for Cillessen to react in time. Despite the disappointment for Valencia, who had 12 shots to their visitors 5, the side now find themselves on the back of a 7 game unbeaten run and still firmly deposited in 2nd place in the league despite having faced both leaders Barcelona and now 3rd place Real Madrid in recent months.Share this: