El Centrocampista

Argentine flattery as Valencia’s inconsistent season nears a conclusion

Another polarizing week passes for Valencia supporters as the season draws to a close, a dire display in the first leg of their Europa League tie against Atletico Madrid was followed by a 4-0 drubbing of Real Betis at the Mestalla.

The score lines could hardly of been any different when the games took part just three days apart but even so they both flattered Valencia to a huge extent with two goals perhaps being a little undeserved on both occasions. The first leg of the Europa League semi-final tie at the Vicente Calderon saw utter domination from Atletico Madrid and another world class performance from La Liga’s third highest scorer Radamel Falcao.

Without Tino Costa’s fantastic left foot Valencia would have left Madrid with a sense of embarrassment, not an opportunity to possibly progress which they now have. The two goals created by the Argentine came from corners when Atleti could be accused of switching off, the first came three minutes into first half stoppage time with Rami heading down the corner for Jonas to poke in at the far post, and the second four minutes into added time with Ricardo Costa jumping highest in the area to power home.

The impact of Ricardo Costa’s late goal has now given Valencia a chance, albeit a slim one, but a win by two goals is now all that will be required, a much more manageable task than before Tino Costa released his second pinpoint cross of the game, a huge performance will now be needed, and given the response of the likes of Sergio Canales on his Twitter feed, it is a task the players are relishing. “I don’t think I have ever been this excited to play a game!” said the Spaniard who recently returned from ligament damage that kept him out of action for six months.

The flattery in the league against Real Betis was once again created by an Argentinian with Lionel Messi lookalike Pablo Piatti assisting Roberto Soldado before grabbing one himself in his 20 minute substitute appearance. The cameo demonstrated that not only does Piatti look a lot like Messi, he can also play like him, twice the winger used his pace to embarrass an out of position Fabricio, showing a fantastic first touch on each occasion to knock the ball past the on rushing goalie first providing a volleyed assist for Soldado and then slotting into an empty net.

The win between two Malaga draws at home to Real Sociedad and then away to Osasuna means Valencia retain the initiative in the race for third place and Champions League football, three games without a win for cross city rivals Levante in fifth means it’s almost guaranteed Los Che will be playing in Europe’s premier competition next season with six point gap and only four games remaining.

In a week where Valencia have been flattered by their Argentinian midfielders the whole squad will need to be on their best form for a season defining three days where Los Che could ensure their place in a Europa League final, and then in next year’s Champions League with a win away to Malaga.

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