Valencia suffer injury blow in narrow victory
Valencia were dealt a massive blow on Sunday evening despite winning the game against Celta Vigo, as they lost Kevin Gameiro just 8 minutes in to what looked like quite a serious hip injury. Pre-game, Valencia had already tried to make several changes as players were becoming jaded due to the incessant fixture list. With Mouctar Diakhaby suspended after an accumulation of bookings, Eliaquim Mangala started at the back alongside Gabriel Paulista, who is just one booking away from suspension himself. There were also further changes with José Gayà, Carlos Soler, Denis Cheryshev and Maxi Gómez all rested, Toni Lato, Yunus Musah, Nicolás De La Cruz and Joshua Zirkzee the ones coming in.
Just 8 minutes into the game Kevin Gameiro fell heavily, indicating immediately he needed replacing, leaving Barlow with no option but to throw on Maxi Gómez, who was originally planned to be rested. Minutes later the visitors almost took the lead, with Lucas Olazo playing a superb ball into the path of Nolito, who took a touch before being denied by a superb last ditch tackle by former Manchester City colleague Eliaquim Mangala, the danger eventually being cleared much to the relief of the home side. It proved to be the only chance of note in the first half of what was a cagey affair.
3 minutes after the break former Manchester City man Nolito was again the danger man, this time Ander Guevara lofting one over the top for the wide man to run on to, this time getting his shot away but a superb save by Jaume Doménech pushing the ball wide for a corner. The 30 year old shot stopper was called on again 2 minutes later, this time after a superb one-two between Iago Aspas and Santi Mina saw the former Liverpool man in space, Doménech this time tipping wide of his other post as he kept his side in it. 56 minutes in Doménech completed his hat-trick of saves, this time again to deny Nolito, who could have easily had a hat-trick another day as he continued to find space drifting in from the left.
The deadlock was finally broken just after the hour mark, and it could be argued slightly against the run of play as it was Valencia who took the lead. A free kick from Nicolás De La Cruz was superbly whipped into the area, and young midfielder Yunus Musah did well to lose his marker and get up above the Celta Vigo defence to head back across goal, Rubén Blanco having no real chance to react.
Valencia almost snatched a second with 10 minutes to go. It was another De La Cruz set piece, this time from a corner, that caused confusion in the Celta Vigo box, keeper Rubén Blanco fumbling the cross and with Mangala, who had ventured up for the corner, looking to smash the loose ball home, Vigo striker Iago Aspas did superbly well to block the effort and clear the danger when a goal looked the more likely outcome. Vigo then hit the woodwork with 2 minutes to go as they looked to rescue a deserved point, this time an Emre Mor corner being met by Néstor Araujo but the crossbar coming to the rescue of the hosts before a half-clearance from Gabriel Paulista was then dealt with more convincingly by his centre half partner Mangala.
As the game fell deep into injury time, Valencia almost snatched a last gasp second, and perhaps should have done. Stand in left back Toni Lato broke down the wing, finding space as Vigo were committed forward, and his initial cross found returning winger Gonçalo Guedes, making his first comeback appearance since injury. The Portuguese wide man, who had come on as substitute in the 71st minute, took a touch before laying off for Lato, who had drifted into the area, but the young full back failed to hit his shot with any real conviction, allowing Rubén Blanco the chance to get down low to safely gather the ball. After the match it was confirmed Kevin Gameiro would be sent to see a specialist, with the top scorer expected to be out for the rest of the season, a bitter blow for the league leaders as they look to secure European qualification and are still in the hunt for more silverware. Valencia announced, as a result, they had taken the decision to recall youngster Andrés García from his loan at Melilla, where he had featured just once, the 17 year old potentially set to be involved with the first team for the rest of the season, with Sturridge unavailable due to his registration with the “B” team.Share this: