Rubén Baraja made his debut last night at Mestalla as First Division coach with a vital victory against Real Sociedad with which to feed the guts of his famished Valencia. The eleven of the bat, the worst team in Europe in 2023, won a victory that momentarily takes them out of relegation, waiting to see how Almería and Getafe resolve their matches on Sunday.
Mamardashvili, Gabriel Paulista (Eray Cömert, min. 45), Mouctar Diakhaby, Lato (Vazquez Alcalde, min. 77), Foulquier, Yunus Musah (Moriba Kourouma, min. 77), Andre Almeida (Cenk Özkacar, min. 90), Hugo Guillamón, Samu Castillejo (Thierry Correia, min. 62), Samuel Lino and Hugo Duro
Remiro, Barrenetxea (Alex Sola, min. 45), Le Normand, Zubeldia, Diego Rico (Aihen Muñoz, min. 62), Brais (Illarramendi, min. 73), Merino, Martín Zubimendi, Oyarzabal, Take Kubo (Carlos Fernández, min. 73) and Sörloth
goals 1-0 min. 40: Zubeldia (pp).
Referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez
Yellow cards Martín Zubimendi (min. 4), Foulquier (min. 11), Diego Rico (min. 35), Yunus Musah (min. 44), Samu Castillejo (min. 54), Lato (min. 67), Mamardashvili (min. 69) and Carlos Fernández (min. 96)
Baraja’s boys, by the way, leave behind the black label of being the only First Division team that had not yet won after the championship after the World Cup in Qatar that ended in mid-December. With their defeat, Real sees third place threatened, in which they will remain this day after Atlético’s draw, now only one point away.
Taking advantage of the height of the defense of Real Sociedad, Valencia quickly executed a counter that led them to the goal. He picked up Hugo Duro in midfield and opened to the left on Toni Lato’s rise who drove the ball just enough for Samu Lino to enter the box with an advantage over his pair. Lino raised his head and saw how Duro, who had followed the play, raised his free hand and released the ball; then Zubeldia intercepted the ball, but lodged it in his goal. Like Athletic’s day, Valencia once again scored a goal from an opposing player.
Until then, Baraja’s team, more supportive and aggressive than in the entire season, applied itself in defense. Fighting like a small team would, was the watchword. Soft on Monday in Getafe’s set pieces, they were more belligerent last night. The huge Sorloth could not win the duel with Paulista, and Lato and Foulquier held the dynamic Take Kubo.
The best Hugo Duro appeared. The Getafe striker was knocked down in the area by Sola as soon as the second half began, but Hernández Hernández canceled the penalty after reviewing the action on the VAR monitor. Valencia had traveled with danger in that set after a corner in favor of Real. The local incursions were a constant in the second half that Imanol was unable to counteract. Baraja’s men, fast and furious, deployed in attack after each Basque corner. Except for a shot from Le Normand, La Real did not threaten a draw. His control of the match and his long, patient possessions were getting him nowhere. With Take and Brais disconnected, Sorloth was lost among the central defenders and Oyarzabal and Merino were not decisive. The best chances were for those with the bat, like that of Samu Lino, who crashed a ball into the right post of Remiro’s goal.
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