Valencia comfortable despite slender win
Valencia comfortably progressed into the fourth round on Saturday evening with a slender 1-0 victory against Pontevedra. Despite the narrow scoreline, the visitors dominated throughout and never looked in danger of falling the same way as Huesca and Racing Santander, the Segunda Division B side already surpassing all the odds to make it this far. Unsurprisingly, Barlow was keen to rest several key players for this one with the games currently coming thick and fast for the current Copa Del Rey holders, albeit on a technicality. With this being Los Che fourth game away from home in succession, with a trip to Getafe also coming up, some of the squad members were given their chance to start, while several of the clubs promising young prospects were also given the reward of a place on the bench due to their fine form for the Under-19’s, who currently top their league. In came Jaume Doménech, Boško Šutalo, Mangala, Toni Lato, Jason, Joshua Zirkzee and Vieirinha, who wore the captain’s armband, with Cillessen, Valencia, Diakhaby, Gabriel, Gayà, Guedes and top scorer Kevin Gameiro all making way. Facundo González, Pedro Alemañ and Martín Tejón were all on the bench for the league leaders.
Valencia began strongly, creating several early chances although none failed to trouble Mario in goal for the hosts. It was the keeper’s quick thinking who then handed Pontevedra their only chance of the game. From a Valencia throw, Zirkzee cushioned the ball for Jason who beat his man down the right before firing in a cross, safely into the hands of the Pontevedra keeper. He sent a long searching ball forward, with the ball eventually finding skipper Charles who showed great awareness to tee up Jorge Fernández, the former Zaragoza man just clipping the outside of the post with his effort.
Despite dominating the first half, both sides went in all square at the break, but any hopes the home side had of a cup upset were quickly quashed just seconds into the second period. From the kick off, the ball was laid back to Mangala, who found Toni Lato in space on the left hand side. Lato laid the ball inside for Daniel Wass, one of the few first team regulars in the line-up, the Danish international showing his class with a superb chipped ball over the top. With Xisco Campos missing his clearance and Mario rushing out, striker Maxi Gómez was in the perfect place to loop his header over the keeper to give the visitors the advantage, with just 15 seconds gone on the clock in the second half.
5 minutes later the hosts dreams were effectively ended when they were reduced to 10 men. A Pontevedra goal kick was won back by Lato, who switched play to goalscorer Maxi Gómez. When the ball broke wide for winger Jason, he showed too much guile for defender Eneko Zabaleta, the hero of the last round diving in on the edge of the area, giving the referee no option but to reach for the red card. This led to Valencia ringing in the changes, handing debuts to the three youngsters, and moments later they almost doubled the lead as Vieirinha picked out Emile Smith Rowe on the edge of the box, but the Arsenal youngster volleyed over. With 20 minutes to go Valencia continued to apply the pressure, a long goal kick being held up well by Maxi Gómez before sub Martín Tejón was then involved, using the width of Toni Lato who was enjoying himself marauding down the left hand side. Another telling cross was this time met by the head of Zirkzee, Mario producing a good save to tip the ball over. A minute later it was the job of the defenders, throwing themselves in the way to block an effort from fellow youngster Pedro Alemañ, the Valencian youth products giving a good account of themselves. Zirkzee again went close before eventually finding the net with 10 minutes to go, only to be denied by the offside flag. A throw in on the left was again worked to Lato, who this time cut inside before delivering a ball which was diverted home by the on-loan Zirkzee, but the linesman had no hesitation in raising his flag, the right call with the Pontevedra defence holding their line well to play the Bayern Munich man offside. It proved to be the last chance of note, with Valencia fans perhaps expecting a few more goals from their side, who notched up 27 shots in the game, but no doubt happy to avoid any injuries and progress comfortably into the hat for the fourth round.Share this: