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Celta de Vigo
23 April 2012
• Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
Referee: César Muñiz Fernández
• Attendance: 39000
Valencia move provisionally four points clear of Malaga against nine-man Betis. That's it from me this evening, I've been Mohammed Ali, and good night!
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME: Valencia 4-0 Real Betis (Jonas, Feghouli, Soldado, Piatti)
90' + 2'
Valencia still threatening right till the end of the encounter. Maduro and Soldado attempting to force Betis into another mistake, but what a fantastic warm-up for Emery's side.
THREE MINUTES ADDED ON!
Red Card Jorge Molina
Well what happened there? Jorge Molina has been SENT OFF! Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Dissent, it seems but the TV replays cut to Molina just walking into the tunnel with Pepe Mel in a fair bit of anger. REAL BETIS DOWN TO NINE!
Goal Pablo Piatti
GOOOALLLL! It's a rout ladies and gentleman. A rather spectacular mistake from Nacho and Fabricio and Piatti ges between the pair, and taps into an empty net. Wonderful.
Assist Pablo Piatti
Goal Roberto Soldado
GOOAALLLL!! Game, set and match! Great run by Piatti who races past the clutches of Fabricio leaving the goalkeeper between a rock and a hard place. Crosses in towards Soldado, and it appears Paulao has put the ball into his own net, but replays show Soldado got the final touch.
Edging towards the last five minutes at the Mestalla, and a comfortable victory it seems for Los Che who have only won once in their last six league games. A good win under their belts ahead of Thursday's major Europa League semi-final.
Benat drifts in with a delivery from the wing, and finds Ruben Castro who doesn't trouble the goalkeeper. Castro has 14 league goals this season, with five in his last six.
Final change of the game, and Sergio Canales leaves the pitch to a standing ovation and is replaced by the 19 year old teenager Juan Bernat.
PIATTI! Almost three-nil there. Another breathtaking move from Los Che, as Canales locates Piatti on the far side, and his effort goes narrowly wide of Fabricio's goal.
First substitution for Valencia who bring on Hedwidges Maduro and Pablo Piatti on for the final minutes.
BENAT! Almighty miss. Dani Parejo makes a huge mistake and allows Benat a free reign, one-on-one against Guaita. However, the midfielder drags it wide despite having a man over at the far side. MASSIVE let off for Valencia.
SEVILLA! Just over the bar. His free-kick narrowly goes over the goal of Vicente Guaita. But Betis surge forward in numbers still.......
Was it a shot, was it a cross? Only Soldado will know. Valencia once more carve open the defence, and especially Amaya to allow Soldado space on the wing. The number nine goes straight for goal, and fires over.
SOLDADO! A goalmouth scramble as Soldado and Barragan combine, and the lattter's delivery sparks confusion in the visitors' box. Out for a corner.
Betis make their final change, with Jorge Molina replacing Roque Santa Cruz. 18 or so minutes remaining.
Roque Santa Cruz
Jordi Alba holds off Nelson and whips in a cross which is too close towards the goalkeeper. The Spanish international was looking for Soldado.
Another statistic? Why not. Valencia are unbeaten in 18 (as it stands) home games against Real Betis, who have only amassed three points in that time frame.
Yellow Card Ricardo Costa
Poor challenge from Ricardo Costa who takes out Roque Santa Cruz completely. Santa Cruz meanwhile has largely been on the periphery, and largely ineffectual. Ricardo Costa booked, and the subsequent free-kick easily held by Guaita.
CANALES! He's been threatening this half, along with Feghouli. Wonderful low cross which evaded the defence, and also narrowly evaded an acknowledging Roberto Soldado. Fantastic few minutes the youngster is having.
Jefferson Antonio Montero
Betis make another change after going down 2-0. Salva Sevilla replaces Jefferson Montero.
Goal Sofiane Feghouli
GOOOAALLLL! The numerical disadvantage tells as Sergio Canales whips in a wonderful cross to pick out Feghouli who extends a leg past the defender and connects with the ball to poke it into the net. Wonderful team move, and Valencia ought to have sealed the match.
Rami collects the ball from distance, but a poor ball sees the move die down almost as quickly as it began. Antonio Amaya has come on for Pepe Mel's side.
SOLDADO! Fantastic balance from the striker who dodges in beside the entire Betis defence with sheer control and trickery. Once Soldado gets past Fabricio, the Betis goalkeeper goes down clutching his face. No contact, and he is not fooling the referee.
CANALES! Powerful free-kick, and well saved by Fabricio. The debate continues on whether Dorado should've seen red there. Thoughts? Tweet me @mohammedali_93
Red Card Dorado
HE'S OFF! Dorado receives a straight red card from referee Cesar Muniz Fernandez. The Betis man was the last defender, but with minimal contact on Feghouli, and the fact the midfielder was offside makes for a controversial call. Betis down to ten men.
Ohh what movement by Feghouli, and he has been tackled by Dorado. Feghouli was offside though, but there isn't much contact by the Betis defender. The referee has a decision to make here.........
GOOALL!! NO!! It's offside. Marginally offside. Great ball in towards Rami, and he rises highest to head home. Fabricio's positioning as poor, but Betis have been let off by a correct decision by the referee.
Poor free-kick, as Benat hits the wall, and whilst Dorado takes possession, his ball up the field is wayward, and is saved by Guaita.
It's Betis' turn to hang on possession and Santa Cruz is fouled on the edge of the area by Parejo. Decent chance this could be, along the semi-circle about 22 yards out.
Valencia ping the ball around with ease, as Canales, Parejo and Albelda draw Betis out of their half. The ball in towards Barragan meanwhile is poor, and Montero intercepts with a decent tackle.
Betis attempt to issue a response to that Jonas chance by surging forward with a chance of their own, though Jefferson Montero shoots straight at Guaita.
JONAS!! Almost the perfect start to the second half. Valencia retrieve possession and send Soldado down the right win, and his pull-back in towards Jonas finds the Brazilian in acres of space, but fires inches wide. Really should've been 2-0.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY! Real Betis get us started, attacking from left to right in this half.
Half-time at the Mestalla, and it is Valencia who lead at the break, courtesy of Jonas' 7th minute goal after an intricate one-two with Roberto Soldado. In a half of few chances, Canales hit the post, with Betis' best chance coming from Benat's long-range strike at the stroke of half-time. All to play for.
45' + 1'
HALF-TIME: Valencia CF 1-0 Real Betis (Jonas 7')
45' + 1'
BENAT! Ohhh, what an attempt. Benat strikes a powerful shot from 30 yards out which dips alarmingly towards Guaita who pats it down towards safety. The last attempt of the first half, it seems.....
One minute signalled at the end of the first half here at the Mestalla.
Barragan uses his pace and trickery to evade his marker and send in a powerful cross from the right wing, which is palmed away by Fabricio. Valencia using the wings well in this first half.
CANALES! OFF THE POST!! A rare chance from Los Che as Canales ventures into the penalty area and fires in a low shot which comes back off the woodwork. Feghouli attempts to retrieve the ball for a rebound, and he is whistled offside.
Bit of handbags as we await the corner, between Paulao and Barragan. Meanwhile, the corner taken by Benat is too long & overhit.
A fine period of possession for the visitors who enjoy their best passage of play in this half. Benat and Nelson combine well to set up Pereira, and they are rewarded with a corner off Barragan.
Albelda looks slightly bewildered after he is penalised for what appears to be hand-ball. TV replays suggest otherwise, though Pepe Mel's side have yet another free-kick. And this time, it is on target - just an easy save for Guaita.
It's Benat with the free-kick, and it's far, far over the bar. As you were, then. Nine minutes away from half-time. Valencia 1-0 Betis.
Fun fact time. Referee Cesar Muniz Fernandez has overseen the most goals in the league when he has officiated. Somehow, I do not see this as a goal-fest. Free-kick to Betis in a dangerous situation 25 yards away.
Roque Santa Cruz and Dani Parejo fight for a loose ball in the Valencia half, and the latter comes out on top. Betis opening up Valencia in the last few minutes, with Montero seeing more of the ball.
Good free-kick delivered in, and Soldado fails to get a head on it as it is blocked away for a corner. The set-piece is in itself poor, helped on by Soldado and off Dorado, yet Betis are given the throw-in as it trickles out of play.
Los Che causing a fair bit of havoc on that left-wing as Betis fail to contend with the threat of Jordi Alba and Jonas. Free-kick conceded by Dorado naer the corner flag.
Feghouli catches out Nacho with an elbow, with the referee awarding Betis a free-kick. Delivered in by Benas, and Guaita is forced to punch that away.
Jefferson Montero shows a great amount of pace to get past his marker and drift in a speculative cross, but Albelda blocks it behind for a corner. The set-piece is worked towards Canas, and trickles out of play.
Albelda picks out Feghouli on the wing, and the ex-Grenoble man does well to pick out Jonas with a fine cross. The Brazilian is off-balance however, and gets his effort over the bar and wide.
Valencia come into this La Liga tie on the back of a demoralising 4-2 defeat in the Europa League semi-final to Atletico Madrid. They face a steep task in the second leg on Thursday, but will be buoyed by Costa's 94th minute goal. 4-2 is manage-able, 4-1 would've been tough.
Yellow Card Beñat
Feghouli picks up the ball in midfield and threads a lovely ball towards Barragan on the right who fires in a threatening low cross which is cleared by Dorado.
JONAS! Soldado had gone from a challenge, but Albelda continued with a fine pass in towards goalscorer Jonas who attempted a cheeky lob over Fabricio which failed to trouble the goalkeeper.
Jonathan Pereira receives the ball on the left wing, attempting to locate Ruben Castro, before Rami intervenes with a late interception. Calm game from Los Che so far, with the defence nullifying the visitors' attack with ease.
Yellow Card Albelda
The ball is played back towards Fabricio and there is a slight hesitation from the goalkeeper who has to contend with the pressure of Soldado bearing down on him. Meanwhile, Canales and Parejo again combine well before being denied by Paulao.
Adil Rami is penalised for a hold on Ruben Castro. Free-kick is delivered deep in by Santa Cruz, with Costa clearing accordingly. Poor start from Real Betis who have only threatened Guaita's goal once.
Canales jinks past the challenge of Nelson, yet the visitors deal with the loose ball easily with the cross delivered in headed away by Dorado.
Yellow Card José Cañas
Jonas is still receiving some attention off the pitch, with medical staff contemplating whether he is fit enough to continue. Canas picks up a yellow card meanwhile on the Brazilian seconds after returning to the pitch.
Concern for the hosts as Jonas takes a nasty injury. The Brazilian is being tended to by the medical staff, and appears to be dazed. Valencia down to ten at the moment.
Superb from the front two of Los Che, whose combination play was exquisite. Jonas first rolled a lofted ball in towards Soldado who returned the favour with a wonderful header. Pepe Mel's side looked to have called offside.
Assist Roberto Soldado
GOOALLL!! VALENCIA TAKE THE LEAD! Questionable defending from the hosts, as Soldado and Jonas combine perfectly with the latter stroking the ball past Fabricio who gets a heavy touch. Valencia 1-0 Betis!
Jonas makes a run into the penalty box, unchecked, but his pull back in towards Soldado is thwarted by Paulao. The subsequent corner is wasted, played short and ultimately dealt with by los Verdiblancos.
Unai Emery revealed days ago that he won't be at the club next season, with the rallying call being the incentive to qualify for the Champions League. Thoughts? Send them via Twitter to @mohammedali_93.
Already a decent chance for Los Che, who venture forward with Jordi Alba, yet Barragan is whistled offside.
UNDERWAY! Cesar Muniz Fernandez sounds his whistle, and it is Valencia who get us started, attacking from left to right.
Kick-off moments away in Spain, and the atmosphere is building. A win is imperative for Unai Emery's men.
TEAM NEWS: Unai Emery makes a few changes from the side that lost to Atletico Madrid on Thursday. In comes Sergio Canales and Dani Parejo for Victor Ruiz and Mehmet Topal as the side look to win ahead of another crunch game later this week. Antonio Barragan meanwhile returns from suspension. Betis are boosted with the return of Beñat, though Iriney misses out after failing to overcome a knee injury, replaced by Jose Alberto Cañas.
REAL BETIS: Fabricio; Nelson, Paulao, Dorado, Nacho; Pereira, Cañas, Beñat, Jefferson Montero; Rubén Castro, Santa Cruz
VALENCIA: Guaita; Barragán, Rami, R. Costa, Jordi Alba; Albelda, Parejo; Feghouli, Jonas, Canales; Soldado
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
A few statistics? Yeah, why not. Unai Emery's side have won just one of their last six league games, although are unbeaten against Real Betis in 17 encounters at the Mestalla. Just one of Valencia's last 16 goals have been scored by a foreigner, whilst Betis have conceded the joint-most penalties this season. A pick'n'mix of statistics there. Thank me later.
Real Betis meanwhile are enjoying a fine run of form, winning three and drawing three in their last six games with wins over Malaga, Villarreal and Osasuna. Pepe Mel's side sit 13th, but are surprisingly just six points off an unlikely Europa League berth. A win tonight would see Los Verdiblancos move to ninth, above Atletico and the chasing pack for the last qualification spot.
Club president Manuel Llorente has told AS that tonight's match is of equal importance, and that the club shouldn't be distracted ahead of Thursday's Europa League showdown with Atletico: "Against Betis, which is as important as a final, the team will have to play at 200%. The only solution is that the team must be strong and play as they have shown that they can. We can and must do that."
Now, on to tonight's fixture. Valencia will be keen to resurrect their season after a poor run of form of late which has seen them ship eight goals in two games. Last weekend's 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Espanyol coupled with Thursday's Europa League semi-final 4-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid has left Unai Emery in a tough position. A win tonight would see Los Che move clear of Malaga for the final automatic Champions League spot with the Andalusians facing Osasuna tomorrow.
First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mohammed Ali, and I'll be bringing you live minute-by-minute updates from tonight's clash. Have any comment to make? Or a prediction maybe? Send me your thoughts via Twitter to @mohammedali_93.
Good evening, and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE text commentary from La Liga. The hype of El Clasico has died down, but the league is not over just yet. Oh no. We have a cracker for you toight as Valencia take on Real Betis at the Mestalla in a match which could have ramifications for both sides.Team news shortly.
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