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Celta de Vigo
Deportivo La Coruña
18 March 2012
• Estadio San Mamés, Bilbao
Referee: José Antonio Teixeira Vitienes
• Attendance: 35000
Soldado 42', 57', 85'
That's it! The match is over! Valencia win 3-0 over Athletic Bilbao! Soldado is the hero with three goals. Be sure to check back shortly for the match report and player ratings of this contest! Thanks for joining us! I'm Roger Gonzalez, and it's been a pleasure.
90' + 3'
That's it! Valencia win 3-0! A little bit of pressure of Unai Emery after this one. From San Mames, Los Che take their chances and leave with a stunning result.
90' + 2'
Nearly the fourth for Los Che as Piatti and Soldado each got a look on goal from close!
Little bit of time left here. Officially, there are two added minutes.
Los Che are minutes away from securing their third consecutive win in Bilbao.
Entering the game, Soldado has zero goals in his last seven game. He will surely take three goals in eight.
Soldado nearly gets his fourth from inside the box, but his effort from the right flies past the face of the goal.
Penalty Goal Roberto Soldado
Goal Soldado! The striker scores a hat-trick with a finish into the right side of the net! Iraizoz got a touch on it, but it wasn't enough! 3-0!
Yellow Card San José
Penalty kick for Valencia! Off a shot from Parejo, the ball hits San Jose's elbow inside the box and the ref gives it!
Topal is back on just seconds after a wasted chance by Athletic. De Marcos did well to cut by a defender at the corner of the box, before chipping in a ball that Ekiza could do nothing in, heading it past the goal.
Yellow Card Roberto Soldado
Topal comes off the pitch after a foul. He looks to be in a bit of pain. Emery scrambles for one last change.
Yellow Card Parejo
Pablo Piatti comes on for Mathieu as Emery aims to improve his team's possession in the dying minutes.
Yellow Card Óscar De Marcos
Yellow Card Adil Rami
15 minutes left in this match. It appears that Athletic are running on empty as Los Che are set to secure three vital points.
Oh my. Soldado schools San Jose with a clever move at midfield before jetting down into the box, but his low shot was stopped well by Iraizoz as the effort was not placed well.
20 minutes left for Athletic to get back into this one. Too late?
Dangerous set piece at the edge of the box, but from a tough angle, Parejo's shot goes nowhere near the goal.
Yellow/Red Andoni Iraola
Jordi Alba is on the ground holding his ankle after a tough tackle from Iraola. That is his second yellow card! Red card and he is off!
Yellow Card Iturraspe
Feghouli creates a dazzling run down the right before entering the box. The young attacker took a shot that hit off a defender and flew out for a corner, which Los Che did nothing with.
Valencia are in complete control as frustration builds. Muniain fouls and insults Barragan. Set pieces from deep here, but a foul by Topal in the box awards the ball to the hosts.
Pablo goes off as Jonas comes on for Valencia with just over 30 minutes remaining.
Assist Jordi Alba
Goal Roberto Soldado
Goal Valencia! It is Soldado again! After threatening time and time again, Bielsa's men concede! Jordi Albao lays a pass off to Soldado in the box, and awkwardly, the striker fired with his right foot to the front post! 2-0!
All the momentum to the hosts at the moment as they are creating chance after chance. Valencia have been fortunate as the ball seems to have found a home inside the Los Che box. A ball from Ander crossed the face of goal with nobody there to finish at the back post. Things are getting interesting here!
Great stop by Topal! Susaeta was played into the box and the Turkish midfielder took him down to steal the ball just before a shot was coming. Fantastic stop by Topal!
Pablo Piatti is warming up on the side for Los Che and looks set to come on. Perhaps for Parejo, who has been far from effective on the evening.
Yellow Card Mehmet Topal
Mathieu! The pacey Frenchman is played into the left side of the box, where he fired low to the right post but it was saved well by the Athletic goalkeeper! Mathieu was marked well on that effort, giving no room to put quality power on the ball.
Muniain takes an early chance just seconds in, firing from outside the box into the stands.
Here we go!
Huge goal for Valencia to end the half. Can Athletic Bilbao come back? We will find out. The players are back on the pitch and ready to go!
45' + 1'
That's it. Half-time from San Memes. Valencia lead 1-0.
One minute of added time as Los Che clear out another Athletic Bilbao cross.
Yellow Card Jordi Alba
An unbelievable mistake there. Valencia make no mistakes and take the advantage. Would have been interesting to have seen Bielsa's face after that one.
Goal Roberto Soldado
It's a goal! Valencia are up 1-0! What a mistake from Bilbao! San Jose controlled the ball on the right, looking to play back to his custodian. A weak pass saw Soldado run onto the effort as it entered the box before cutting by the oncoming Iraizoz, carrying the ball towards goal and finishing calmly!
What is that, the 50th foul of the first half? The first half has flown by as just over five minutes remain. The number of fouls has certainly prevented a fluid match.
Javi Martinez and Soldado both go down to the ground after a long ball. Fouled called on the young Spanish midfielder, who looked to have taken a little piece of Soldado's hand to his face. On the ensuing set piece, Athletic manage to clear.
Yellow Card Andoni Iraola
Bit of a wild sequence there as both teams escape danger in the matter of 20 seconds! After a delightful sequence of passes from the hosts, De Marcos gained possession near the penalty spot, but his shot was blocked by the visiting defenders. Valencia then went on the counter with Soldado aiming to play Mathieu through with a diagonal pass from the right wing to the left, but the home defence detained the effort just in time.
Oh! Nearly! Ander played a lovely ball to the left wing to find De Marcos, and the attacker entered the box at the corner before firing a shot, but it found Guaita all too easily in the middle.
Another foul by Topal. Must be careful or he will surely see a yellow card after one or two more.
Yellow Card Barragán
Nearly 30 minutes into the match and both central defences seem to be up to the task today, clearing out various chances. The game is also getting a bit physical as fans await a clear chance for their side.
De Marcos twice sends in a poor cross to the front post from the right as Valencia escape to go on the counterattack.
Muniain plays in a high through ball over the top of the Valencia defenders, looking to find Susaeta in the box, but Guaita came out quickly to snatch the ball up.
A lot of early credit needs to go to Javi Martinez, who has cleared out dangerous balls time and time again, and we are only 21 minutes into this match.
Another corner to Valencia, another poor effort from Parejo. The ball is headed out at the front post. Los Che are really missing those Tino Costa crosses.
Valencia win a corner after Pablo Hernandez can't break down the home defence. On the kick, Parejo sent in a horrific, weak corner, turning the ball over at the front post.
De Marcos looks to filter a ball into the box to find an Athletic attacker but Dealbert does very well to knock the ball out for a corner, getting a touch after stretching for it.
Dealbert does well to knock the ball away from Iraola in the corner, giving Bielsa's men a throw-in from deep.
Finally, on their third try, Athletic send a ball into the box off a set piece. No harm though as Valencia escape danger thanks to poor execution from the hosts.
Foul by Topal. Free-kick for Athletic from far out. Another set piece seconds later for a foul on Jordi Alba. The game is littered by fouls as a another free-kick is awarded to Athletic seconds after as Dani Parejo knocked Muniain around.
Penalty? Jordi Alba was sent through into the box, looking to finish past Iraizoz, but Muniain appeared to knock down the Barcelona target from 10 yards out. No foul though! Play continues.
What a finish by Roberto Soldado after a foul! With play stopped, the Spanish striker took a shot after fouling Javi Martinez. The ball flew into the upper-right corner of the net. Not sure we've seen a better finish from him. But, it doesn't count obviously as the ball belongs to the hosts.
After taking a few minutes to settle into the match, both teams are playing at a fast pace. Good defending by San Jose saw a Mathieu cross cleared quickly. Seconds later, Dani Parejo split defenders at the top of the box with a pass to Feghouli. The young attacker took a touch and knocked the ball over the goal. Aimed for the upper-right corner but was nowhere close.
The match has begun! What a fantastic crowd on hand!
No Tino Costa for Los Che after the Argentine earned a red card in the team's last league match. With Llorente out, Valencia look to be the favourites, but regardless, this should be a cracking match! The game will start in a matter of minutes!
For Valencia: Guaita; Barragan, Rami, Dealbert, Jordi Alba; Topal, Parejo; Pablo, Feghouli, Mathieu; Soldado
Fernando Llorente misses the match after failing to be deemed fit for the powerful hosts. He could surely use a rest as well after terrorizing Sir Alex Ferguson's men.
Here is the starting XI for the hosts: Iraizoz; Iraola, San Jose, Javi Martinez, Aurtenetxe; Iturraspe, Herrera, De Marcos; Muniain, Susaeta, Inigo Perez
In the standings, Valencia sit in third place with 44 points, while Athletic are in seventh with 37. The starting XI for each side is minutes away.
Both teams are coming off success in the Europa League midweek. Marcelo Bielsa's men took down Manchester United to advance to the quarter-finals, while Unai Emery's guys eliminated PSV. Both seem like legit contenders to the crown. But who will finish today with three more points? Will we see a draw? Be sure to let me know on Twitter. Send your comments and predictions to @RCGonzalez10
Welcome ladies and gentlemen to Goal.com's LIVE text commentary of La Liga action! I'm Roger Gonzalez, and I'll be providing updates from the top match of the week. Today, Athletic Bilbao host Valencia!
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