|Sevilla (1)||Valencia (0)|
|Youssef En-Nesyri 66′|
Now how close was that?
On a feisty and excruciatingly intense evening at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, we fought valiantly against Sevilla with renewed gusto and flair only to squander our momentum due to shocking defending and missed chances.
For a brief period in the second half, we looked like we might score every time we attacked, with Goncalo Guedes and Manu Vallejo weaving synchronised magic through Sevilla’s customary high white line. Both teams were resolute at the back, but this was a tantalising clash of counterattack and high-pressing blitz as Sevilla surged forward at the other end.
Early progress for the Bats came from the left side, with Carlos Soler fearlessly making overlapping runs with Uros Racic in support. Even without Lee Kang In and Mouctar Diakhaby, there is an irresistible momentum about our team. One-touch passes, quick interlink plays and solid ball possession. This will take some time to become second nature but we are getting there.
And just when we looked our most dangerous, we gave it all away.
With 66 minutes gone, Youssef En-Nesyri scored the only goal of the match, pouncing on an effortless pass by Fernando Francisco Reges to run past the flat-footed Valencia defence and slot it past a hapless Jasper Cillessen. There can be no excuse, our defence needs to step up more when it matters the most.
We kept running till the final whistle, but we never really looked like hauling it back. There has been something hugely impressive about our ability to function through the absence of key players this season. But here, we looked low on energy.
With two more matches to go till we finish the season, we will have to dig deep and reignite the fire. We are mathematically safe from the drop zone but with pride on the line, we need to remember why we’re here in the first place — for the Valencia badge.