Not long ago, Valencia were one of the best teams in Spain, constantly in contention for European places, and even winning the Copa del Rey in 2019. Monday illustrated how far they’ve fallen as they lost 1-0 against 19th-placed relegation rivals Getafe.
Their recent appointment of new head coach Rubén Baraja hasn’t managed to change the team’s results just yet, even though Valencia did come out strong in the first half. Samuel Lino created danger with his fast dribbling, but his three scoring opportunities before the break failed due to poor finishing.
Despite attacking with more certainty and creativity than in previous games, Valencia still showed to be shaky in the defensive department. Goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili had to pull out his now customary top-level saves to deny Munir El Haddadi and Borja Mayoral, the last of which needed an acrobatic double save after poor marking from a corner.
Sloppy defensive work on set pieces was what ultimately led to Valencia’s demise, as a back-post cross from a late corner left the team disorganised and confused. Mayoral took advantage of the chaos and slipped into the edge of the six-yard box far too easily to slot home Omar Alderete’s flicked header.
Valencia have now lost five consecutive games, and will be facing Real Sociedad, Barcelona, and Atlético Madrid within their next four games. The future of the once high-flying Spanish team looks grimmer than ever. The defeat on Monday leaves Baraja’s side in 19th place with just 20 points from 22 games.
Nicolás Antúnez de Mayolo | GSFN