By Alfonso Gil
Valencia, Spain, Nov 8 (efe-epa).- Valencia, which scored three of its goals in its intense Sunday upset match against Real Madrid on penalty kicks and one on an own goal by the visitors, came into its own particularly in the second period for the unexpected 4-1 result.
The match was played at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium before empty stands, in keeping with Spain’s coronavirus rules forbidding large gatherings.
Zinedine Zidane’s team started out strong during the first half hour of play, with Karim Benzema getting the visiting squad on the board in the 23rd minute, although 12 minutes later Carlos Soler notched the first of three penalty kicks that brought Valencia even before it took complete control after the break.
A foul by Lucas Vazquez gave Valencia its first spot-kick, which Carlos Soler scored on the second attempt after the VAR ordered a retake.
But then the capital squad’s Raphael Varane knocked in a completely out-of-the-blue own goal right at the end of the first half to send the hosts ahead 2-1, and it only got worse from there.
Play resumed frenetically after the break, but mistakes by Marcelo and Sergio Ramos – the former fouling Maxi Gomez – granted penalty kicks to Valencia in the 54th and 63rd minutes, with Soler capitalizing in both cases for the final 4-1 result, dealing Real Madrid its biggest and most surprising losses under Zidane.
“After the goal we fell apart and changed the dynamics. Everything happened to us; three penalties, an own goal. It is difficult to understand,” Zidane told reporters after the match, adding that “There is no justification or excuses. … I don’t think Valencia was tactically better than us … but yes, the one most responsible is me. We must find solutions after the goal they scored.”
The victory came as a welcome relief for Valencia, which had gone four matches without a 3-point result, putting them into the ninth spot in the La Liga table, whereas last season’s Spanish league champs are now four points behind top team Real Sociedad in the No. 4 slot.
Valencia: Jaume Domenech, Wass, Gabriel Paulista, Hugo Guillamon, Gaya, Musah (Jason, m.87), Carlos Soler, Racic, Cheryshev (Lato, m.77), Kang In Lee (Gameiro, m.80) and Maxi Gomez (Ruben Sobrino, m.87).
Real Madrid: Courtois, Lucas Vázquez, Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Modric, Valverde (Mariano, m.76), Isco (Jovic, m.83), Asensio (Rodrygo, m.65), Benzema (Kroos, m.76) and Vinicius (Ordegaard, m.65)
Referee Gil Manzano showed yellow cards to Jaume Domenech, Carlos Soler and Hugo Guillamon for Valencia and to Marcelo and Sergio Ramos for Real Madrid.