This is a game that was thought to bring an easy three points to the home side, Valencia. However, little did anyone know that inside the first ten minutes a red card would be issued to starting center-back Adil Rami for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Down to ten men, the La Liga side’s demise began from that very moment.
Bony Wilfried opened up the scoring in the 10th minute before second half strikes from Michu and Jonathon De Guzman sealed the deal for the Premier League side. This was the first European tournament they are taking part in since way back when in 1992. Well, what a way to return to some of Europe’s finest.
Valencia were denied the opportunity to play their passing, physical and quick-paced attacking game against a a PL side who know how to stop that sort of attack. They do not face it as much in the PL, but since their coach — Michael Laudrup — used to coach in Spain, he knew exactly how to defend and counter against it. In fact, they were even able to play their own possession game to the fullest for the majority of the 90 plus minutes on the field.
Arguably, allowing Brendan Rogers to depart the side to go and coach Liverpool was the very best move that this side could make. Laudrup came in and completely took over Rogers’ possession game but improved it by adding more capable players on and off the ball to work together to create simple magic like they did tonight at the Mestalla.
As for Valencia, this team has to make sure that they stay disciplined throughout and not make any errors on the defensive end as that is the worst place to have a player ejected form the game. This completely threw them off of their game plan which is what allowed their opponents to come in and absolutely dominate them throughout the match.
This is going to be a fun group as SWA now have sole control atop the league. If they manage to defeat Valencia again in Wales the next time around while also not slipping up against the other side in their group, advancing to the Round of 32 will be nothing short of a breeze.