Acrobatic Gaya equaliser saves Valencia in 2-2 draw

Match Report
Valencia (2)Real Mallorca (2)
Goncalo Guedes 90+3′
Jose Gaya 90+8′
Angel Rodriguez 32′
Mouctar Diakhaby (OG) 38′

The writing was on the wall. A fourth loss in 6 games loomed large. Deep into 7 minutes of stoppage time, up stepped Goncalo Guedes and Jose Gaya. 

Our mercurial Portuguese winger first unleashed a late thunderbolt to give hope to the despairing fans. Gaya, scorer of a wonder goal against Barcelona last week, then came in clutch with an overhead kick – virtually the last touch of the game – to rescue Valencia.

In the grand scheme of things, a 2-2 draw against newly promoted Real Mallorca spells trouble. Winless in 6 now, Los Che are bordering on a crisis. But as Gaya finished in style, Mestalla cranked up the decibels and roared in the raging afternoon sun. We are not yet dead.

This was a must-win game. By half-time, we were already down 2-0 and looking absolutely dusted.

Valencia’s chief tormentor? The returning Lee Kang In. The Korean was released by his boyhood club after a decade, and he certainly looked eager to play the role of pantomime villain.

His silky dribbling left Uros Racic and Mouctar Diakhaby flat-footed before squaring it to forward Angel Rodriguez for the opener just past the half-hour mark. Of course the 20-year-old celebrated.

Mallorca then doubled their lead in the 38th minute after midfielder Dani Rodriguez eluded Gaya and scuffed his shot in through Diakhaby – it was marked as an own goal by the Frenchman.

Coach Jose Bordalas clearly had enough. On came Carlos Soler, Omar Alderete and Marcos Andre for Maxi Gomez, Racic and Diakhaby after the break. But things continued to go south, even as Kang In received a second yellow for clattering into Daniel Wass 10 minutes into the second half.

After a 40-minute clinic on how not to cross the ball, Guedes took matters into his own hands to jolt Valencia back into life. On came a surging wave that culminated in Gaya’s late, late equaliser in the 98th minute. The captain screamed. The crowd exploded.

No doubt, emotions were charged after snatching a point from the jaws of defeat. But 3 points out of the last 18 is disastrous. We must wake up before the midweek game against Real Betis.

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