Talking Points : Valencia 2-2 Real Madrid

Published 01/03/2016, 5:14 PM EST


Real Madrid dropped points yet again as they managed to play out a 2-2 draw against Valencia at the Mestalla. Karim Benzema gave Madrid the perfect start as he put the ball in the corner of the net from a lovely worked move involving both Bale and Ronaldo. But a controversial penalty decision against Pepe handed Valencia a golden opportunity to equalise, which Dani Parejo took gratefully and buried the chance. Madrid went down to 10-men as Kovacic received a straight red card for a wild tackle on Cancelo. Despite being a man down, Madrid restored their one goal advantage through a beautiful headed goal by Bale. But the celebrations of Madrid players and fans were cut short when Paco Alcacer equalised with his head just a minute after Bale had given Madrid the lead. Both the teams survived some nervy moments in the game later on. This might be counted as another opportunity missed by Madrid to close the gap on their rivals, as they try to catch-up with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Here are the major talking points from the match.

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1) Sergio Ramos Fit To Play

After a long rest of 14 days, Sergio Ramos made it back into the Madrid line up alongside Pepe. He looked good throughout the match, and was sharp in defence as well as in his passing. Ramos has been a bit sloppy this season so far, with injuries keeping him out of many matches. His work rate has been questionable, and the fact that he has been given the responsibility to lead the Blancos this season has been regarded as one of the reasons for this dip in form. But against Valencia, Ramos was solid for most part of the game, as he dealt with the majority of the balls and other threats.

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2) James Rodriguez Benched

One of the most shocking team news that came in from the Real Madrid squad was that playmaker James Rodriguez had been benched for the game. Instead of the mercurial Colombian, new boy Mateo Kovacic was given a start. Given the stature and the importance of the match, Benitez has been put under scrutiny for the decision. Leaving out a player like James on the bench for a match of this magnitude is surely a questionable decision. James has been superb for Madrid so far in the matches in which he has player, and thus was expected to start the match against Valencia.

3) Penalty Quest

As the match approached half time, Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale tried to take on two Valencia defenders on the right. In the process, he was clearly brought down inside the box by one of the Valencia defenders, who then started their own counter-attack. Referee waved away any penalty appeals that Bale put up, and on the other side of the pitch, when Andre Gomes was brought down by Pepe, referee gave away the decision in favour of the young Portuguese midfielder. Valencia equalised from the 12-yard spot, but the major question which remains is that had Bale been awarded a penalty for a foul just seconds before the incident, Valencia would never have equalised.

4) Mateo Kovacic Red Card

Kovacic was having a wonderful match in the Madrid midfield, as he was defending well, and bringing the ball out of the midfield. He even made some terrific runs towards the Valencia goal. But suddenly a good solid performance from the Croatian was masked by a horrendous tackle on Cancelo, the man on the right for Valencia. It was a lunging, studs-up challenge from the young midfielder, who left the referee with no other option but to give him his marching orders. Ronaldo went down in the penalty box, but the referee rightfully dismissed any penalty appeals made by the Portuguese superstar. While Valencia tried to break from their defence, Kovacic caught Cancelo badly, and was shown a straight red for that, which left Madrid down to 10 men.

5) Madrid – Their Inability To Win The Big One

When it comes to scoring goals in a match, Real Madrid have been the most ruthless team in the whole of Europe in the past seasons. It hasn’t been much different this season, as they put 10 past Rayo Vallecano, 6 past Espanyol, and many more against such teams. But this season, Madrid have failed to win the big matches. Their inability to protect a lead has been exposed too many times this season.

They lead against their fierce city rivals Atletico Madrid, only to concede late and gain just a point from them. Then at Sevilla, they lost 3-2 after initially leading 1-0 in the match. Losses against Villareal and Barcelona, a 4-0 thumping at the Bernabeu, haven’t gone down well with the fans. The team has looked fragile against tough oppositions, and again failed to capitalise on Sunday, as they led twice against Valencia, and each time conceded and as a result, dropped two precious points. Against PSG also, Madrid managed a tame 0-0 draw in the first leg, and were 1-0 winners in the second leg, where surely they were second best.

If Madrid are to win anything this season, they will have to start performing well in the big matches. Otherwise it will be the same story as it was last season – no trophies, and in the end they will be searching for a new manager.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paritosh Gautam

121 articles

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