Five star Valencia set up title showdown
A five star performance from league leaders Valencia ensures they go into this weekends clash against Real Madrid still maintaining a four point advantage at the top of the table as the league season reaches it’s climax. The 5-0 hammering of the bottom club also all but condemns Eibar to spending next season in the Segunda, the Alicante club now finding themselves 9 points adrift of safety with just 3 games remaining. Valencia made just one change against the side who had taken just one point in their last 5 league outings, Kevin Gameiro making his first start since his return from injury, with Gonçalo Guedes reverting to the wing and Jason dropping to the bench for the encounter.
Hosts Eibar looked to dispel their league position just a few minutes in, when Takashi Inui slipped in Rafa Soares for the chance on goal, but the left back poked his effort wide. It was to prove costly when just minutes later Valencia took the lead from an unlikely source. A direct free kick on the right was superbly curled into the corner by skipper José Gayà, claiming his first goal of the season at the right time with a simply sublime set piece.
The advantage was almost doubled just 6 minutes later, full back Gayà again at the heart of things, this time with a wonderful inswinging corner which centre half Gabriel Paulista headed just over the bar, much to the relief of Dmitrovic. At the other end, Sergi Enrich was also guilty of missing a great chance when he too headed over the bar, the delivery from Inui, getting some joy down the left, initially picking him out.
Just shy of the hour mark it was a case of de ja vu as José Gayà was presented with another direct scoring opportunity from an almost identical position. This time the skipper opted for the opposite corner, and when Dmitrovic could only get a hand to it, Carlos Soler reacted quickest to poke into the empty net to score for the second successive game.
A few minutes later, Valencia had a shout for a penalty when full back Julian Korb needlessly clattered into José Gayà, who had broken free at the edge of the area after an exchange of passes with De La Cruz. A VAR review, however, showed the incident to have occurred just outside the penalty box, and the eventual free kick came to nothing.
Into the second half and Eibar had another chance to try and rescue something from proceedings, this time a massive goal kick from Dmitrovic and a rare error from Gabriel Paulista, the defender misjudging his header, saw Sergi Enrich once again find himself with time and space to get an effort on goal, but once again the former Numancia striker failed to make Cillessen work. An error at the other end then handed Valencia their third, Gabriel Paulista, keen to atone for his error, the benefactor when a bodged clearance by Oliveira from a De La Cruz corner fell to the defender, who poked home through a sea of bodies to follow up his goal from the weekend too, much as team mate Soler had earlier in the game.
Eibar then showed the kind of naivety that only goes to underline their position at the foot of the table, as they were once again undone by an almost replica set play. Nicolás De La Cruz was again the provider from the corner, and this time Gabriel Paulista was able to get a clean header away, powering his effort beyond Dmitrovic with the Eibar defence caught static, three in two and five for the season for the Brazilian defender.
The result was complete with 15 minutes remaining, with Gayà was again the provider. A throw in was returned to him by striker Maxi Gómez, and the 25 year old opted to swing one into the area, where Gonçalo Guedes stole a yard on the defenders to poke beyond Dmitrovic, who had rushed off his goal line in an attempt to cut out the danger.
With Real Madrid not in action until tomorrow evening, Valencia know they will remain top of the table, regardless of the outcoming at the Bernabéu on Sunday evening, the only blot in the copybook a booking for José Gayà, who also picked up a man of the match award for his fine performance, which means the skipper will now be out for the crucial clash due to an accumulation of bookings, a bitter blow for Los Che, who will probably now look to either Toni Lato or Thierry Correia to deputise at the weekend.Share this: