Real Madrid have just added another La Liga title to their impressive range of silverware and they are also in the enviable position of being on track for a good crack at the Champions League trophy, with only Bayern Munich and PSG or Borussia Dortmund standing in their way.Their domestic dominance was confirmed when Girona completed a convincing victory over Barcelona and the team from the capital demolished Cádiz at the same time in the Bernabeu.Girona also clinched a Champions League spot as a result of beating their illustrious Catalan neighbours, but could be denied this opportunity because of their Manchester City connections. With the Copa del Rey winners Athletic Bilbao also secured of European football and well above Valencia in the league, the door could still be open for continental football at the Mestalla next season.

The scenario is a grey area and the recent loss to our nearest rivals Real Betis for a Europa League or Conference spot could still cost us dear. Hoping for a result at Barcelona was ambitious as well. However, on reflection, the Valencia fans will be disappointed that their team did not leave the Montjuïc stadium with at least a point. The final score line and the way it came about was as miserable as the Monday night weather in the Catalunya region that evening.

The oldest player in the starting line-up for Valencia was Pepelu at 25 years old and Los Che held their own and were well in the game and 2-1 to the good… when a game changing moment occurred during added time of the first half. Giorgi Mamardashvili advanced out of his penalty area to try and thwart a Barcelona attack but, unfortunately, blocked the attempt with his hand. An initial yellow card was upgraded to a red one upon a VAR review.

Four minutes after the restart, the hosts were level when the Polish international Robert Lewandowski scored the first of his goals. With eight minutes of normal time remaining, he put his team in front.  To add insult to injury, he converted a sublime free kick past Jaume Domenech with virtually the last kick of the game. A tough result for the players who had given their all and put up a stoic fight in the second half, against all the odds.

With a Betis win in Pamplona against Osasuna, three points against Deportivo Alavés at the Mestalla was a requirement for Los Che. The enforced change of Jaime for the suspended Mamardashvili was the only difference to the Valencia eleven against Barca, whilst the son of Diego Simeone, Giuliano was up front for the Basque outfit.

The first half was eventful but goalless. Alavés hit the post and Valencia missed a couple of chances but the main talking point was the enforced substitution of the goalkeeper Domenech. It was cruel luck of the local player, who himself was only playing because of the first choice keeper’s suspension. Third string “portero” Cristian Rivero was called upon. The Gandia born native has played a handful of games for Alcorcon on loan in the past after a move to FC Dallas fell through, but this was his first entry in LaLiga.

Untroubled in the first half in the minutes that he played, the thought process amongst the Valencia fans in the stadium was that Alavés would come strong at him in the second half to try and undermine his confidence.

The Basques did employ these tactics, and peppered the newcomers goal twice early in the second half. Rivero responded well with two good saves. However, he was beaten in the 67th minute when Alaves scored from a set piece that was manufactured on the training ground.

A corner was played deep and the left back Javi Lopez came around the back of the Valencia defence on the blind side and stroked the ball home.

Valencia did have the ball in the net soon afterwards but a foul by Peter nullified the goal despite the potential goalscorer Diego López being in an onside position.The win for Alavés gave them their third straight win and Valencia the reverse. With four games left, it looks incredibly tough for Los Che to gain a European spot without some outside intervention.

Levante are also looking in trouble of not making the play offs in the second division, although a 3-0 victory at Villarreal B helped their cause immensly. It looks likely that they will need to win the majority of their remaining four matches, if not all, to extend their season a further few weeks.

Report by John Howden

Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’



Remaining fixtures:

Valencia CF

Valencia CF v Rayo Vallecano May 12 18.30 hours

Real Sociedad v Valencia CF May 16 22.00 hours

Valencia CF v Girona May 19 tbc

Celta Vigo v Valencia CF May 26 tbc


Levante UD

Levante UD v Eibar May 11 21.00 hours

Eldense v Levante Ud May 18 21.00 hours

Levante UD v Alcorcón May 25/26 tbc

Huesca v Levante UD June 1/2



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