Goal frenzy at La Rosaleda
Valencia made relatively light work of their 4th round Copa Del Rey tie on Wednesday evening as they cruised to victory, 5-2 at La Rosaleda against Segunda Division side Zaragoza. The 2018/19 winners came into this game on the back of a draw against Real Sociedad in the league, and with another tough game coming up at the weekend, the Valencian derby, there were no real surprises as Barlow rang in the changes for this clash, making no fewer than 8 changes in total. Out went wide men Jason and Nicolás De La Cruz, both who suffered knocks at the weekend, along with Cillessen, Wass, Diakhaby, Gayà, Musah and Kevin Gameiro. Into the starting XI came substitute keeper Doménech along with Boško Šutalo, Eliaquim Mangala, Toni Lato, Vieirinha, Uros Racic, a fit again Denis Cheryshev and young forward Joshua Zirkzee.
Valencia took just 4 minutes to take the lead against the second flight side, after the hosts failed to clear their lines. A deep Vieirinha free kick was headed clear by Vigaray, but Vieirinha picked up the loose clearance before slipping the ball across to the returning Uros Racic. His ball out wide found Toni Lato on the left in space, although the full back opted to play a one-two with Gabriel Paulista rather than deliver into the box, before the ball was then played back to Racic. This time the midfielder played a chip pass over the top of the back line, which Denis Cheryshev read superbly to connect with the half volley to beat Cristian Alvarez at his near post to give the visitors the advantage.
10 minutes later the winger almost grabbed a second, this time as he was on the end of a Racic cross after Zirkzee had played a superb reverse ball into the path of the midfielder on the edge of the box, this time defender Carlos Vigaray in the right place to block the effort and clear the danger. The respite was short lived, however, when 6 minutes later the lead was doubled. A throw in on the left by Vieirinha was played back to the versatile veteran by Cheryshev, the former Portuguese international opting to use Toni Lato who cut infield before laying back out to Vieirinha, who still found himself in space on the left. This time, stealing a yard on Larrazabal, the delivery was perfect for Maxi Gómez to get across his man and fire beyond Alvarez.
7 minutes later Maxi Gómez had his second of the evening as the visitors threatened to run riot. A rare venture forward by Zaragoza was immediately broken down, Carlos Soler picking out midfield partner Racic in space in the middle. The midfielder in turn picked out Vieirinha, this time appearing on the right, on the edge of the box. His pass to Joshua Zirkzee was flicked on for Maxi Gómez, who took a touch to create a yard of space from Guitián before firing low beyond the keeper, who in fairness had little time to react.
Valencia thought they had a fourth on the half hour, Vieirinha again causing problems from a set piece, Carlos Soler volleying home his deep free kick, but replays show the midfield man had gone just too early, the linesman correctly flagging for offside. Minutes later it was 4-0 as the red-hot Uruguayan striker completely an impressive 12 minute hat-trick. Šutalo and Zirkzee interchanged passes on the right, the full back then using Soler and Racic before his delivery into the area was met at the far post by the head of Maxi Gómez, who made no mistake to head in from point blank range to seal his hat-trick, and give the visitors a massive foot in the next round of the competition.
In an eventful first half, still the goalscoring wasn’t complete as the hosts gave themselves faint hope as they pulled one back 7 minutes before the break. A smart ball over the top from Javi Ros was superbly controlled on the chest by Gaizka Larrazabal, the former Athletic Bilbao man taking another touch before slipping the ball beyond Doménech, who rushed out in an attempt to cut out the danger. Valencia then lost full-back Toni Lato on the stroke of half-time, the left back pulling up with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, skipper José Gayà coming off the bench to take his place.
Just a minute after the break the hosts had to be thankful to their keeper Cristian Alvarez to prevent further misery, the Argentine shot stopper getting down well to produce a great save to deny Uros Racic, who looked odds on to score after a failed clearance broke to him in the area after he had originally tried to slip Zirkzee through. 3 minutes later the former Vallecano keeper was called on again, this time Valencia launching a quick counter attack from a Zaragoza corner, hat-trick hero Maxi Gómez carrying the ball a long way before his effort was parried by Alvarez.
Just after the hour mark Valencia grabbed a 5th goal, and effectively put the tie to bed, when Maxi Gómez was rewarded with his fourth goal of the game. Another Vieirinha free kick from the left hand side was only half cleared, and when Joshua Zirkzee’s follow up was also cleared Šutalo played a long punt forward, finding Maxi Gómez inexplicably in space down the middle, the 24 year old showing the composure and ability to volley home his 14th goal of the season.
With Valencia making sweeping changes, debutant Janni Serra had a great opportunity to grab his first goal for Los Che, the striker doing superbly well to dispossess Frances in the middle of the park, but despite bearing down on goal he could only drag his eventual effort wide with Alvarez rushing out to close him down. With 2 minutes to spare, hosts Zaragoza grabbed a second themselves to restore some pride to the scoreline, this time Nieto finding space down the left hand side before cutting the ball back into the middle. Fernandez touched on for Giorgi Papunashvili, who produced a smart finish to poke the ball into the corner.Share this: