Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Headlines

Barca beaten by Valencia in early blow for Setien

Gerrard Pique attempts to move past Valencia markers during a La Liga tie

VALENCIA, Spain, Jan 25 – Quique Setien’s honeymoon period lasted less than a fortnight as he tasted his first Barcelona defeat on Saturday in his second La Liga game in charge after a 2-0 loss to Valencia.

A Jordi Alba own goal and Maxi Gomez’s strike at Mestalla raise early doubts about Setien’s appointment and give Real Madrid the chance to move three points clear at the top of the table when they visit Real Valladolid on Sunday.

Barcelona had most of the ball but their opponents had the best chances as Gomez missed a penalty and also hit the crossbar in the first half. Gabriel Paulista saw a third goal ruled out late on.

While performances under previous coach Ernesto Valverde were stodgy and familiar failings went unresolved, he left a side in first place.

Setien promised a new style but few will cheer a team that loses. Despite dominating possession, Barcelona did little with it and as Valencia grew in confidence, they ceded control too.

“There are things they have not understood or maybe we have not have explained ourselves well,” Setien said afterwards. “In the first half, quite frankly, we were bad.”

The question is whether Setien is trying to impose too much too soon and perhaps whether this group are even well-suited his ideas.

“The players have to adapt to the coaching staff to understand,” said Sergio Busquets. “There were some good things but we have to improve.”

Valencia climb to fifth and continue to improve under Albert Celades. This success came without their captain Dani Parejo and, largely, without star striker Rodrigo Moreno, who has been linked with a January move to Barcelona.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The hosts hardly touched the ball for the first six minutes, their fans whistling as they urged a more aggressive approach.

But the plan was to sit and absorb and it worked, with Barcelona unable to cut through or create a single clear chance.

– Valencia dangerous –

And when Valencia did intervene, they were more dangerous too. With their first attack they won a penalty as Jose Gaya slipped past Gerard Pique and would surely have scored from eight yards before being brought down.

Pique was booked and, with Parejo absent, Gomez stepped up, only for his driven shot to be well saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, albeit with the help of half a yard’s headstart off his line.

Barca were riding their luck. Sergi Roberto’s header cannoned off Pique but fell just close enough for Ter Stegen, who parried a Gomez shot onto the crossbar and almost spilled another to Kevin Gameiro.

Referee Gil Manzano puts his hands together as if to apologise after failing to play advantage when Ferran Torres was clear but the frustration of Valencia’s fans turned to ecstasy shortly after half-time.

Pique’s flicked header landed at the feet of Gomez, whose driven effort took a cruel deflection off Alba and flew in.

Setien traded the patience of Arthur Melo for the physicality of Arturo Vidal and Rodrigo came on to a rousing reception.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Barcelona exerted some pressure and Lionel Messi led the way, hauled to the ground by Francis Coquelin and then denied by a brilliant Gabriel tackle. He fired past the post, headed wide and saw a curling free-kick saved.

Yet just as a Barcelona equaliser began to feel inevitable, Valencia struck again. A quick throw caught Alba out of position and Torres did well to cut inside and switch to Gomez. He took a touch and curled into the corner.

Gabriel thought he had a third after volleying in from a corner but VAR persuaded Manzano there had been a push. When Messi ballooned a late free-kick and threw his arms up in despair, Valencia knew their win was secure.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

More on Capital Sports

Football

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – There is light at the end of the tunnel. After failed promises over the last three years since its...

Athletics

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Olympic Champion Caster Semenya and wife Violet Raseboya have hinted that they might be expecting a baby in a...

Athletics

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – Daniel Wanjiru, the 2017 London Marathon champion has been slapped with a four-year ban by the World Athletics Disciplinary...

NFL

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Kenya’s history making Daniel Adongo, the first Kenyan to play in America’s National Football League (NFL), is now living...

© 2020 Capital Digital Media. Capital Group Limited. All Rights Reserved