Valencia fall to defeat in Germany
Valencia suffered their first setback of pre-season after they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Bundesliga side Mainz 05 at the Opel Arena. Barlow rang in the changes for the game, with Yunus Musah available again after his recent spell away on international duty, while Otávio was now absent through internationals. There were also starts for Jorge Saenz and Dario Sarmiento in the change, while the pairing of Kevin Gameiro and Maxi Gómez returned together up front.
The hosts went close in the opening minute, young defender Jorge Saenz having to produce a last minute block to deny Barry Hepburn. 5 minutes later they were in front, Barry Hepburn this time getting his goal, stemming from a throw-in down the left, which was picked up by skipper Danny Latza, who laid off for Abass to produce a superb through-ball, leaving Hepburn with a simple finish to break the deadlock. Visitors Valencia almost hit straight back from the kick off, Gameiro knocking back to Mangala, who handed off to De La Cruz in the middle of the park. The Uruguayan winger, playing more infield today, produced a ball over the top for Maxi Gómez to race on to, with the shot eventually being tipped away by Robin Zentner for a corner.
14 minutes into the game, hosts Mainz found themselves 2 in front, Hepburn again at the heart of the action after he picked up a poor clearance from the back, this time returning the favour as he fed in Issah Abass, the striker producing a fine near post finish beyond Jasper Cillessen to double the lead. Valencia hit back moments later, De La Cruz again enjoying his new role as he found Gonçalo Guedes, the Portuguese forward playing a quick one-two with Kevin Gameiro before side footing home with Zentner well beaten at his near post.
In an action packed opening half hour, Valencia again went close 22 minutes in. A deep free kick was swung into the middle by De La Cruz, with young midfielder Yunus Musah getting up above everyone to produce a powerful header from just inside the area, his effort flashing just wide of the upright with the keeper racing across his goal at full stretch. Moments later the visitors then rattled the woodwork, this time De La Cruz using Gameiro, who quickly produced a flick on to strike partner Maxi Gómez, the Uruguayan in space but seeing his effort come back off the inside of the post before being cleared, although there was a hint of offside in the build up.
After the break, Valencia continued to push for an equaliser, making a raft of changes on the hour mark and two of them combining minutes later, only to be denied by the woodwork once more. A Daniel Wass corner from the right was met superbly by Mouctar Diakhaby, the centre half beating everyone to the ball only to see his towering header cannon back off the crossbar before being knocked out for another corner. From the other side, Gaya this time turned provider, picking out the other centre half Mangala, but the Frenchman was unable to keep his header down as it sailed over the bar. The impressive Mainz keeper Zentner was then called into the action again with 20 minutes to go, this time producing a smart save to tip over an effort from Uros Racic, before he was then replaced by Michael Rensing between the sticks.
Valencia were left frustrated at what could have been a well worked equaliser when Rensing continued the fine shot stopping of his predecessor, denying Loren at the near post with a fantastic save, after some brilliant build up play from the Spanish side involving Parrott originally nicking the ball back in midfield before combining well with both Sarmiento and Loren to forge the opening, the new striker only to be denied a first goal by the fine save by the former Bayern keeper.Share this: