|Levante (1)||Valencia (0)|
|Ruben Perez ’18 (P)|
Remember when we beat Barcelona and smashed Ajax? Oh, those were magical nights, filled with passion and desire.
Those days are gone. On a slightly overcast Sunday evening at the Estadio Municipal Butarque, Valencia’s Europa League dreams ended with a damp squib after losing to relegation-threatened Leganes.
The game showcased everything that has gone wrong with the season: a lack of conviction, focus and desire to win. The Bats seemed determined to pass over multiple golden opportunities that could have turned the game around.
Like when the Los Pepineros were reduced to 10 men in the 54th minute following Johnathan Silva’s red card tackle on Ferran Torres in the middle of the pitch.
Or when the Los Che were awarded a penalty five minutes later after Rodrigo Tarin’s handball in the six-yard box — only for Dani Parejo to shoot directly at Iván Cuéllar and scupper it.
It didn’t seem that way at the start. Goncalo Guedes and Kevin Gameiro combined nicely on the left flank early on. Dani Parejo threatened to undo Javier Aguirre’s 5-4-1 formation with long strides down the centre. Valencia could have been up in the 7th minute, but Guedes’ 40-yard screamer from the left hit the frame of the post.
But steadily, the orange shirts settled into a pattern of stodgy lateral passing. The high-pressing tenacity and creative pizzazz that embodied the Real Valladolid game just four days ago was nowhere in sight.
Leganes moved swiftly to swing the game in their favour, albeit with a little luck. A penalty was awarded in the 18th minute after Geoffrey Kondogbia was ruled to have handled the ball in the box. Captain Ruben Perez sent Jaume Doménech diving the wrong way with a smooth shot to the bottom right corner. 1-0 to the home side.
This frustrating performance means that Valencia’s last away win dates back to December 2019 during the 4-2 rout of Levante at the Estadi Ciutat de València. Our away form this season has been miserable, winning just three of our 18 La Liga games on the road, suffering 11 defeats in the process.
The team’s form has been horrendous since the restart and Voro hasn’t been able to lift the demoralised team. The magic has now been well and truly snuffed out.