|Valencia (0)||Cadiz (0)|
To say that this fixture held undesirable baggage is an understatement. While the mood at Cadiz’s Nuevo Mirandilla had snowballed into almost festive heights with a capacity crowd, tension bubbled beneath the surface.
Last season’s corresponding match was marred by an incident involving the home side’s Juan Cala and Valencia’s Mouctar Diakhaby – the latter had claimed to be racially abused by Cala, and Los Che walked off the pitch in protest. We would return and lose 1-2, while no evidence of racial abuse was found.
This time, both defenders featured from the bench as Cadiz and Valencia played out a goalless draw.
While neither team managed to score, the match was far from insipid, although it could have used a little inspiration. From attackers attempting to jink their way in, to defenders roughhousing their opponents, one could not complain about the lack of action. But goals were in short supply.
Valencia’s best chances fell to Daniel Wass, who stung the palms of Cadiz keeper Jeremias Ledesma twice from distance, while Goncalo Guedes was a whisker away from snatching a last-gasp win 2 minutes from time with a shot that curled beyond the post.
With no goals to rouse the fans, the Cala-Diakhaby subplot soon provided ample distraction as the duo were brought on by their respective sides in the second half.
Whistles shrilled around the stadium every time Diakhaby touched the ball. Thankfully, the French centre-back appeared unfazed. Cameras later showed coach Jose Bordalas putting a finger to his lips to shush the home fans – we know our boss will back our boys in a pinch.
Solidarity is important. But it cannot mask reality. After 3 wins in the opening 4 games, Valencia’s subsequent 4 have yielded none. We need to regroup during the international break, because Barcelona are up next.