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Liga Preview: Valencia-Espanyol
Valencia - Espanyol | News Archive

A midfield linchpin for the Ches...Ruben Baraja (Reuters)
04/26/2002. BACKGROUND

Valencia are just three wins from their first Liga crown since 1971. The pressure from Real Madrid has been constant, but the Ches just seem to keep on grinding out results, and although a league championship win wouldn't be a victory for attacking football, it would be just reward for a team who never give up and display terrific organisational and defensively solidarity every time they take to the pitch.

Few could argue that they didn't deserve their 1-0 win against Deportivo La Coruna in last week's fearsomely competitive game at the Mestella. True, the goal was a fortunate one, with England's most hated man Aldo Duscher slicing into his own net, but the Ches, lead by Pablo Aimar, were much the more adventurous team throughout and could have scored three or four on another day.

Undoubtedly the key to Valencia's success in this second half of the season has been the form of Aimar and Ruben Baraja in midfield. The little Argentine has dazzled Liga crowds with his vast array of skills, close control, and fine long-range passing, while Baraja is generally regarded as the best box-to-box player in Spain and has been a pillar of strength over the past few months. His midfield partnership with David Albelda provides a terrific shield to the back four.

So what of Espanyol, the masters of mid-table obscurity? With limited resources coach Paco Flores has again done well, despite many calls for his head throughout the season. The loan signing of Uruguayan forward Antonio Pacheco has proved a shrewd one, while his partner-in-crime Raul Tamudo is enjoying the best season of his career.

Away from home, Flores' side are the worst in La Liga and have collected just one win all season. At Montjuic, though, it has been a different story. Deportivo, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Celta Vigo have all come away empty handed, meaning the Olimpic Stadium is now regarded as one of the toughest venues La Liga has to offer. And this despite the paltry crowds that turn out for their side each week.


Valencia Last Six Matches: LWWWDW

The only defeat came at home to Inter Milan in the Uefa Cup, where Rafa Benitez' men totally dominated for 80 minutes and yet came away beaten. Since then they have edged past Osasuna and Tenerife in La Liga, thrashed Real Sociedad, drawn at Mallorca and beaten Deportivo.

Espanyol Last Six Matches: LLLWLW

Recent wins over Celta Vigo and Villarreal have ensured that the Budgies will be playing Primiera Liga football next season. Otherwise, it's a pretty miserable tale with defeats against Real Sociedad, Alaves, Mallorca and Deportivo.


Valencia- coach Benitez has almost a full compliment of players to choose from for this clash. Only right-back Curro Torres misses out through suspension. Miguel Angulo, who played as a centre-forward last week, could fill in. Mista or Juan Sanchez would therefore take the lone striking role. Another boost for Benitez is the possible return of Mauricio Pellegrino from injury. He could replace Miroslav Djukic.

PL- 4-4-1-1- Cañizares, Angulo, Ayala, Pellegrino or Djukic, Carboni, Albelda, Baraja, Rufete, Kily González, Aimar, Mista

Espanyol- Albert Lopo is banned and will be replaced by Antonio Soldevilla. Flores is also without Martin Posse who is out for the rest of the season. The only doubt for the coach is whether to play Francisco Palencia or Antonio Pacheco up front with Raul Tamudo.

PL- 4-4-2- Argensó, Navas, Soldevilla, Rotchen, Ricardo Cavas, Alex Fernández, Paulo Sousa, De Lucas, Roger, Pacheco or Palencia, Tamudo


Pablo Aimar (Valencia)- the little Argentine is finally fulfilling his huge promise. He provides the vital link between midfield and attack with his superb dribbling and passing. He's also been finding the net regularly, making him the all-round player. If only Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa could find a place for him in the national team.

Raul Tamudo (Espanyol)- the little Spanish international is in the form of his life. 15 goals for the season is a career high, and he has netted three in his last four games. A contender for a place in Jose Camacho's World Cup squad.

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The match is tonight ? same time as R.Madrid's one?
In S'pore, it's showing Real, as I expected as it has telecasted Valencia matches for the past 3 weeks!
Nevertheless, I'll keep my eyes on Livescore if the match falls tonight.

Yeah, both games same time ;)

Our probable line up : Cañizares, Angulo, Ayala, Pellegrino/Djukic, Carboni, Albelda, Baraja, Rufete, Kily González, Aimar, Mista.

Angulo will take Curro's(suspended) position as right back. I really don't like this, playing at home against Espanyol and we go in with a defensive approach.. but I don't think we should expect Rafa to change style in the last 3 games ..

Espanyol's attacking pair are good, Tamudo and Palencia can cause so much trouble on their day so I think we should play Djukic since Pelle doesn't look 100% and might find trouble in holding any of those two.

I don't know why Rafa wants Angulo as a right back...
Marchena, Rufete and Djukic can provide cover.

I'm fine with the idea of benching Pellegrino, but I'm sure he will be more than eager to play these final 3 matches.
What can I say?

very disappointed.....this was a perfect chance for Angloma to say goodbye in style to Mestalla and Benitez didn't even call him for the game..and what's even worse it seems like Angulo is going to play as a rightback again and we all know very well what happened last time when he played on that position(Valladolid).....I really fear that we're not gonna be able to keep the cleen sheet and if we add our scoring problem:rolleyes: ........

one more thing I can't understand....why keeping Salva so long out (he's not called too).......why is Benitez so stubborn about Salva and Angloma?
anyone heard some rumours about that?

about Espanyol......it's true that they don't have an impressive away record this year but they have a lot of quality players who can make the difference
I've already expressed my admiration towards Tamudo (and he's probably the only striker from the "small" teams in Liga that I would really like to see playing for us),but there are others too....De Lucas, P.Sousa, Palencia,
Posse........I was really surprised when I saw P.Sousa (playing vs. Celta) cos I thought he was still playing for Pana.......

AMUNT VALENCIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. I didn't read your posts before writing this so this post looks like a bit "out of space".....
but it's nothing surprising when it comes from me:tongue:
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Plotinus, I totally agree about Benitez and Tamudo. I really have no clue as to why Salva is kept out. I can only assume Benitez-Salva don't mix. Or maybe he thinks Salva does not make a good pair with Aimar. Who knows :rolleyes: I'm also at a loss about Angloma. The last thing I heard was that Benitez didn't think Angloma was fit enough :rolleyes: I read that several weeks ago. In any case, for that position I would prefer an Angloma "not fit enough" instead of a fully fit Angulo...

I would also like to add a small factoid: Valencia has not won at Mestalla against Espanol since the 95/96 season!! It's a mistery to everyone...

After 30 minutes:

Things look bleak:(

Valencia: 0
Espanol: 1 Tamudo (29', pk)

...And Carboni just got a red card :(

sheesh, what is happening in Mestalla?!?!?!:mad:
One goal down after conceding a penalty, and what did Carboni do to get himself sent out?!!!
It does look gloomy. I'm starting to panic after seeing this result.
Bad call IMO for the PK, it was a questionable and harsh call to make. I think it wasn't clear enough to call.

However, Carboni fully deserved the red card, a very stupid elbow that was clear for everyone to see.

Doesn't matter though, we are down on a PK as well in Sociedad and Valencia are fully controlling the second half in Mestalla :depress:
this is a little strange...
Currently, Real is also 1 goal down , conceding a penalty 2....
Still the same score after 57 minutes...

But Real Sociedad just scored, also on a pk :)

YES !!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!
BARAJA SCORES!!!!! I was so tense here , crossing my fingers hoping that they score...and YES they did.
Come on Ches, GET THE WINNING GOAL!!!!!
from a barca fan i am so happy that madrid is winning an u jus scored an equilizer.

the league is yours and all you got 2 do is concentrate on your games like arsenal in the premiership.

man how important is baraja, he will be one of the stars for spain this summer!
i meant losing there obviously soz.

wht a gr8 barca fan i would b, when i would b happy with madrid winnin. lol

Valencia: 2
Espanol: 1

10 minutes to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Oh my god, this is incredible, what a comeback from Valencia, two goals from Baraja, man he is solid.

& to add salt to the wound, Real condeded their second goals!!!

We are 4 points clear if results reamain this way

Helllllllllllll yeah!

And wait... Real Sociedad 3 - 0 Real Madrid!
Congratulations, Liga is heading to Mestalla now for sure.

Applause to you for showing up in the clutch, i am a little digusted by Espanyol today, who didn't even try to show on paper any interest in the game, but your win and our loss is fully deserved. We couldn't win when it mattered and thats that.

I still say its a shame the more boring team will win Liga :tongue: but in the end its consistency that counts and you guys deserve the title.
We haven't been a boring team since december!

Haven't you been watching any of our games? We don't score that many of our chances, but we sure as hell create them...
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