|Jorge Molina 58′, 68′
Jaime Mata 87′
Bruised, battered, beaten. If Los Che were a Roman gladiator, he would have crawled out of the Coliseum Alfonso Perez in a bloody mess.
Fiery intensity was expected in this battle between LaLiga’s 3rd and 5th-placed teams, desperate to qualify for Europe’s premier competition. After all, Valencia outlasted Getafe in last season’s Copa Del Rey quarter-finals, which featured a mass brawl. Their last six meetings saw four reds. Tasty.
Except today, all the fight belonged to the home team – imperious in their 17,000-capacity arena that must have felt like a hundred thousand to the overawed visitors.
Goalless in the first half, the home side drew blood after the break. Jorge Molina, the 37-year-old wily warrior, mauled Mouctar Diakhaby to shreds, plundering in two goals.
Between the two goals, a mass brawl, as Jose Gaya went down in the Getafe penalty box. Yellow cards aplenty, but that was all. No further inroads would be made by Los Che.
The team was devoid of ideas. Assist-maker Rodrigo Moreno, usually the sharpest blade in our attack, was blunted by niggling injury and had barely more than a dozen touches before he was hooked off on 60 minutes. Dani Parejo was stifled and could not arrow his trademark passes from deep. Do we even have a Plan B?
Then, curtains on the 78th minute, as Alessandro Florenzi took the part of Roman gladiator far too seriously and went in high and two-footed on jet-heeled Marc Cucurella. Red. Wasn’t the ex-Roma captain signed for his experience on such high-octane occasions?
Diakhaby further muddied his name as he gave up the chase for Getafe’s third goal, appealing for a foul. Disgraceful. The referee blew for time early to end the bloodbath. 18 shots to two.
This was no contest. It was Valencia’s worst performance of the season.
Gabriel, he of the bloodied photo from last season’s Copa match against these very opponents, summed it up eloquently: “It was all shit. In defence, midfield, attack. We have to be men, stronger the next game.”
On to Atletico, back to the comforts of the Mestalla. We need to travel better to get into the Champions League next season. It’s now six losses in 11 away matches. Fourth spot is slipping away.