Forza Futbol

A Better Lens at Spanish Football

 

 

Valencia’s 4-0 win this weekend over Real Betis calmed some nerves over at the Mestalla.
Los Che are now comfortably in 3rd place, three points above next week’s rival Malaga.
Should they finish in third, they’re automatically in next season’s Champions League.

With that comes better players, more prospects and most importantly for a club struggling with finances: money.

But all is not well with Spain’s third best team.

After their 4-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semifinals, coach Unai Emery told the squad he wouldn’t be coming back next season.

Couple that with an uninspired performance in the semifinal and it’s no wonder Valencia’s management decided to give away free tickets for Thursday’s semifinal second leg.

Is the team tired? Uninspired? Bored?

I’ve no idea but I do know this is the only trophy they can win this season. A grand performance at the Mestalla will see them make the trip to the Europa League final and please fans who have been clamoring for more.

The squad looked out of sorts in the first leg. They looked bemused, allowing Madrid’s speedy wingers and midfielders to advance and create opportunities.

Falcao’s brilliant goals seemed to send Madrid to their second Europa League final in three years. But Ricardo Costa’s header on literally the last touch of the game gave Valencia a slight chance.

They need to play better. Valencia need to step up on home ground, play tight defense against a persistent Madrid midfield manned by Diego and Adrian, stuff Falcao and most importantly, score goals.

I’m not going to lie. I’m a huge Valencia supporter and I’d like nothing better than to see my club in a European final.

I want to see them leave their blood, sweat and tears on the pitch, as Valencia keeper Vicente Guaita insinuated they’d do.

“We know it’s going to be hard because we didn’t expect this result in the first leg,” Guaita told reporters at a press conference.

“But we have a chance to go through, there are 90 minutes left and we will leave our souls on the pitch to reach the final.

“We’re very eager to play the game on Thursday. We know that we will have a lot of fans in the stands who will be supporting us until the very last minute, and we will try to go through because entering a final is the best thing there is.”

Sure is. For players. For fans.

Just play hard. Leave it all on the pitch and don’t disappoint the fans.

I want to see Roberto Soldado score a brace. I want to see Adil Rami and Victor Ruiz shut down Falcao and Diego.

I want to see Diego Alves make some great saves, Tino Costa take some fabulous free kicks and Sergio Canales dash into space, passing the ball with ease.

I want to see Unai Emery sprinting around the box like an over-caffeinated coffee junkie. I want to see the Mestalla faithful cheer loud and proud for their home side.

Unfortunately, I just don’t see it happening.

Valencia are too out of it to compete against a hungrier, more motivated Colchonero side.

It’s 2-1 to the hosts. Expect the white hankies to be waved, the crowd to be surly and the players to look dejected.

Almost just doesn’t cut it this time around.

Amunt!

 

-Cesar Benoit

Elisa On April - 25 - 2012

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