|Eibar (1)||Valencia (0)|
|Geoffrey Kondogbia (OG) 17′|
Adios, Champions League. You just cannot trust Valencia to win away from home.
In a week where our closest rivals for the European spots dropped points, a win would have propelled us to 6th. Instead, we slumped to our 9th away loss in the league.
After a huge win against Osasuna last weekend, Valencia were expected to grab all three points at relegation contenders Eibar. Alas, on a rainy night at the Ipurua Municipal Stadium, the Bats slipped up against a side that had only won once in their last 10 LaLiga games, going down 1-0 to a Geoffrey Kondogbia own goal.
For a Champions League chasing team, Valencia could not even pretend to look like one. From the first whistle, Eibar pressed us aggressively, snapping at our heels to force panicked and wayward passes.
In the 17th minute, our defensive frailties finally showed when a wicked corner from Eibar landed directly on Kondogbia’s left boot, turning the ball into his own net.
Valencia remained muted in attack, with Rodrigo Moreno’s six touches in the first half summing up our paucity in firepower – against a team with 1 clean sheet in 9 games. Why Maxi Gomez, our top scorer, was only introduced in the 84th minute, we will never know.
Despite more initiative in the second half, Valencia never really threatened to equalise. Eliaquim Mangala was sent off – the team’s 7th dismissal in LaLiga this season – for a second yellow card offence in the 89th minute. The lack of concentration and discipline is almost laughable except that it happens too many times to be a joke.
With Valencia earning just 2 away points out of the last 21, a frustrated Jose Gaya laid it bare: “It feels impossible to qualify for the Champions League now and it’s going to be hard in the remaining games to recover.”