Valencia reach Spanish Super Cup final
Valencia’s start to 2021 continues to get better as they progressed to the Spanish Super Cup final following an impressive 2-0 win against Atlético Madrid in the semi-final, played at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Saudi Arabia. Yunus Musah returned to the side in midfield, while Wass, celebrating his new contract, dropped back to his more traditional role of full-back for the encounter. There was also a place on the bench for new arrival Nicolás De La Cruz. Geoffrey Kondogbia lined up for Atlético against his old club, while the in-form Kevin Gameiro, another celebrating a new deal, once again lead the line against his former side.
Unsurprisingly for two very well organised sides, chances were at a premium in the opening to this one, the only shot in the opening quarter of an hour an attempt from distance in vein from Atlético. 17 minutes in Valencia had their first chance to test Jan Oblak in the Atlético goal, a Carlos Soler free kick whipped in, and although José Giménez initially cleared Gameiro picked up the lose ball and fired it back in, but the Polish keeper was more than equal to the effort. A minute later, however, he was beaten after Maxi Gómez was given way too much time and space in the box. Cheryshev carried the ball through the middle, eventually opting to knock back for Wass, who in turn sent Gonçalo Guedes free down the right. The Portuguese winger beat Vitolo then stood up a superb cross to the back post, where Maxi Gómez was completely unmarked to head beyond the helpless Oblak.
Valencia suffered a blow on the hour mark when Denis Cheryshev came off with what looked like an ankle problem, something which seems to have cursed Valencia this season. Barlow wasted no time in opting to send on Nicolás De La Cruz for his debut. Atlético continued to press in search of an equaliser, Thomas Lemar going close with a direct free kick, but Cillessen doing well to get down well to make the save, before then safely claiming the resulting corner. 6 minutes later, Valencia doubled their lead, and it was another poor defensive error from the usually resolute Atlético that lead to the goal. Wass took the ball back from Gameiro on the right, and his cross picked out Maxi Gómez in the middle. The scorer of the first goal saw his volley blocked at point blank range, but Kevin Gameiro was left completely unmarked to fire home the loose ball against his former side, to virtually ensure Valencia’s progress into the final.
Into stoppage time, Atlético looked to salvage some pride from a set piece routine, Lemar knocking the ball sideways to Yannick Carrasco who shot from distance, former Barcelona keeper Cillessen equal to the effort as he tipped the ball over the bar. The same pair were involved again a minute later, this time Carrasco opting to carry the ball forward from another Lemar lay-off, but he was unable to test Cillessen this time as his shot sailed over and Valencia sailed into the final, where they will face either Barcelona or Real Madrid. Post game, it was confirmed that Cheryshev suffered an ankle ligament injury and is expected to be out for around 2 weeks, meaning new arrival De La Cruz may get a taste of the action in la Liga sooner than expected.Share this: