Andres Guardado played the full ninety minutes in Valencia’s victory over Osasuna. Guardado started the match as a left back.
He defended well and came up repeatedly to join several Valencia attacks. It was not uncommon to see Guardado break up a play inside his own 18 yard box and then see him a few seconds later inside of Osasuna’s 18 yard box taking part in an attack. His work rate during the first half was incredible.
In the 50th minute, Guardado made an excellent “save” for Valencia. Osasuna took a corner kick and Alejandro Arribas headed the ball toward the near post. Guardado was on the goal line and kicked the ball away. Without Guardado, it would have been a clear goal since the ball had already gotten by the Valencia goalie.
The lone goal for Valencia came in the 55th minute. Valencia’s Pablo Biatti, attacking from the left, made what appeared to be a crossing pass. The ball bounced on the far post and Roberto Soldado nailed the rebound into the net, 1 – 0.
In the 59th minute Jonathan Viera entered the match for Biatti. From that point forward, Guardado played mostly as a defender.
The matched ended 1 – 0. It will be interesting to see if Valencia’s new coach Ernesto Valverde plays Guardado in this position again, since he played the position very well in this match.
Giovani dos Santos, Mexican International and Mallorca Winger, played the full 90 minutes in the Levante V Mallorca match.
It was a match to forget.
In the 30th second of the first half, an errant Mallorcan back pass led to the first scoring opportunity for Levante. Luckily this errant pass did not lead to a Levante goal, but it did portend the type of match it would be for Mallorca. Mallorca was lazy in passing and unfocused in defending.
Although Mallorca maintained most of the ball possession in the first half, Mallorca had only one shot on goal and two total shots. For his part, Gio was having no impact on the match. On the sidelines, Joaquín Caparrós could be seen imploring Mallorca to hustle and focus. Several times the camera caught Caparrós rolling his eyes at what his team was doing on the field.
In the 43rd minute, Mallorca’s Ximo Navarro made a lazy pass in the midfield that was stolen by Levante’s Habib El Zhar. Catching Mallorca out of position, El Zhar sent a long ball to Martins Obafemi streaking to the goal. Martins was shoulder to shoulder with Mallorca’s defender Pedro Geromel. Geromel was able to get to the ball, but he lost control, failed to clear it, and Martins beat the Mallorcan goalie, 1 – 0.
To start the second half, Caparrós replaced Ximo with the forward Ángel Arizmendi in an attempt to push Mallorca forward and get the equalizer. But instead, the next 13 minutes were probably the worst 13 minutes for Mallorca thus far this year.
In the 49th minute, Levante’s David Navarro was left unmarked on a corner kick and he scored, 2 – 0. In the 54th minute, Gio took a shot on goal that resulted in a corner kick for Mallorca. The ensuing corner kick was cleared to the midfield, Levante stole the ball and begun a two man counter attack, Rubén García and Martins passing back and forth until Rubén took the shot and scored, 3 – 0.
Finally, in the 58th minute, Mallorca watched the ball pass around between 5 players within the 18 yard box without clearing the ball. Vicente Iborra finally shot the ball into the goal, 4 -0. At the end of this play, the Mallorcan players started yelling at each other.
The match ended 4 – 0. Gio had no real impact on the match, he did try to drop down into the midfield from time to time to get some touches on the ball and Mallorca did have greater possession of the ball but just couldn’t finish.
Javier Aguirre and Hector Moreno were able to secure another point for Espanyol in the battle to avoid releagation. Espanyol obtained a draw against Sevilla and had also obtained a draw against Getafe. The match against Sevilla was marked by some questionable refereeing and Espanyol should have ended with the win and three points, rather than a draw and one point.
Moreno started at right center back but would come out repeatedly to help Víctor Álvarez mark Sevilla’s Jesús Navas.
The first goal came in the 13 minute with a penalty scored by Espanyol’s Joan Verdú. The penalty was a result of foul committed by Fernando Navarro against Verdú inside the 18 yard box. The second goal in the match also came by way of a penalty kick. In this case, the referee Muñiz Fernández, called a non-existent foul committed by Espanyol’s Christian Stuani against Sevilla’s Geoffrey Kongdobia inside the 18 yard box. Ivan Rakitic converted the ensuing kick, 1 – 1.
In the 37the minute the match became bizarre and Muñiz’s refereeing became even worse. Muñiz called a foul by Diego Colotto right outside Espanyol’s 18 yard box. As Muñiz was spacing the defensive wall for Sevillas free kick some scuffling between Sevilla and Espanyol players started taking place. As this was occurring, Sevilla’s José Reyes took the free kick. Muñiz gave Reyes a yellow card for not waiting for the whistle. Reyes was sent off since it was his second yellow for the match. Watching a replay of the sequence, you can see the defensive wall being spaced properly, Muñiz blows his whistle giving permission for Reyes to take the kick, but as soon as the whistle is blown Muñiz sees scuffling taking place. Muñiz appears to motion for Reyes to hold while he stops the scuffling. Muñiz then turns his back from Reyes and Reyes takes the kick. Sevilla played the rest of the match with 10 men.
In the second half, Aguirre tried to widen the field for Espanyol and stretch the Sevilla defense. Espanyol started using the wings but still could not get a chance on goal. In the 59th minute, Aguirre replaced Rui Fonte with Simão Sabrosa and it paid dividends immediately. In the 60th minute Simão scored on a corner that the Sevilla goalie was able to touch but could not push out, 2 – 1.
The final goal came in the 91st minute on a centering pass from Jorge Andújar “Coke” to Álvaro Negredo. Negredo found an opening between three Espanyol players, Moreno, Raúl Rodríguez, and Colotto and headed the ball into the net. The match ended 2 – 2.
Leo Gutierrez, Contributor
Leo is a follower of La Liga, Liga MX, and MLS
During the day he maintains www.radiofuturamusic.com