Although this update is being published over a week after the games were played, there are still several days before the next round of matches are played in the Spanish top-flight so hopefully the two match reports below will be of interest to some. If there is anyone waiting for updates from the two rounds played in Liga Adelante since that league’s last mention on this site, rest assured that this has not been forgotten about.
Friday 29 August 2014
Valencia 3-0 Málaga
Roberto Rosales and co. were eventually beaten comfortably by a Valencia side who may well be eyeing up a Champions League berth, yet had Sergi Darder not received a red card midway through the first half, it could have been a rather even contest at the Mestalla.
Los Boquerones had started brightly with Roque Santa Cruz brushing the side-netting with a header from an acute angle early on and Juanmi later having a low deflected shot from the edge of the area saved by the outstretched glove of Diego Alves. Sofiane Feghouli had Valencia’s best chance in the first quarter with a diving header that glanced just wide, but what could have been a tight match was effectively ended in the 27th minute when Darder became the third Málaga player in two games to receive his marching orders, after going in with studs showing from behind on Dani Parejo.
A few minutes later, the home side were ahead as Spain’s great new striking hope Paco Alcácer ran onto a cross from Rosales’s side to deftly finish with the outside of his right foot. Soon afterwards, Ricardo Horta swivelled to make himself some room on the left side of the Valencia area to and fizzled a right-footed effort that was swerving so unpredictably that Alves had to tip it over. However, while the sending off did not altogether curtail Málaga’s attacking instincts, it did render them more vulnerable on counter-attacks such as the one led by Feghouli at the end of the half. This culminated with the Algerian international running to the central edge of the area and nudging an attempted through-ball that hit the hand of the sliding captain Weligton which, however unintentional, the referee presumably judged to be denying a goalscoring opportunity and awarded a free-kick. Parejo stepped up take it and though Carlos Kameni – starting again ahead of Guillermo Ochoa – got a good hand to it, the Valencia captain was there to strike home the rebound on the stroke of half-time to give his side a two-goal advantage.
Just after five minutes into the second period, Málaga were incorrectly denied a route back into the game when Luis Alberto found Juanmi with a lovely chipped pass that the youth team graduate confidently put away, yet the officials disallowed the goal for a non-existent offside. Unsurprisingly, the club’s president was out fuming after the game over the perceived injustices inflicted upon his team this season, yet this was of little concern to the hosts as they extended their lead five minutes later with a sublime team goal. Feghouli again had a role as he passed a cross-field ball over to the left edge of the area that Alcácer, with two fine touches, controlled and then played a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Pablo Piatti who finished off the move flamboyantly with a well-executed strike with the outside of his left boot. Try though he did, Rosales was a rather helpless victim of this attack, as he could get nowhere near the fast-paced interplay and his frustrations manifested themselves 8 minutes later when he picked up a booking for an impetuous trip on Piatti.
After the third goal, the game was well and truly over as a contest and while there were further chances, the most notable occurrence from a Venezuelan perspective was the introduction of Juan ‘Juanpi’ Pablo Añor on 75 minutes for his senior debut, having been with the Andalusian side for four years. Some helpful soul has produced a video tracking his every touch, though it was his last one – which was also the final one of the match – that was the most eye-catching as, despite being a 20 year-old debutant, he was granted free-kick duties and bended a deflected effort no more than a yard past the woodwork in stoppage time. Hopefully in the near future we will be seeing a lot more of this youngster, preferably in a Málaga side that is capable of combining its evident attacking ability with some discipline.
Sunday 31 August 2014
Elche 1-1 Granada
Darwin Machís will have been disappointed to lose his starting spot to 18 year-old Nigerian forward, Success Isaac (yes, really), as a last-minute equaliser denied Granada the opportunity to be only the second team, along with Barcelona, with a 100 per cent record after a mere two games.
As Success was often involved in several dangerous attacks, Machís stayed on the bench throughout the match, from where he would have seen several close scrapes at either end in the first-half. Indeed, the home side’s best chance came from Cape Verde Islands international Garry Rodrigues who, having done the hard work of shrugging off several challenges in a powerful burst from his own half, was unable to slide the ball past Roberto, who stood tall. Granada’s near-goal came from Youssef El-Arabi who, having received a flick on from Success, saw his first shot saved by goalkeeper Przemysław Tytoń, yet with the rebound falling fortuitously and goal gaping, his shot from the angle was dramatically blocked by the slide of Chilean fringe player, Enzo Roco.
In the second half, both Success and Granada’s opening-weekend match-winner Jean-Sylvain Babin had goals disallowed; the former for an offside decision and the latter for what appeared to be a push by a team-mate as he powered home a header from a corner. Undeterred, the Nazaríes continued their assault on the Elche back line and got the breakthrough in the 81st minute as Success cleverly played Fran Rico into some space with a short reverse-ball and he somehow managed to squeeze a low shot into the net from a very tight angle.
Ultimately however, any dreams of being joint-top of the league were dashed in the first minute of stoppage time when a free-kick from a deep position on the left was swung into the area where it flew over what most defenders must have thought was all the opposition players as no one detected the run of the incoming David Lombán, who volleyed home a low strike to earn a point.