La Liga’s 2021-22 season is underway, finally, and the curtain-raiser did not disappoint at all. Valencia vs Getafe was a purely physical contest rather than a tactical one. Carlos Soler’s first-half penalty was the difference between the two sides as 10-men Valencia held their own for almost the entirety of the game and weathered the storm.
José Bordalás returned to face his former employer Getafe in what was a dramatic return for the manager. Getafe dominated the game from the word go, with Hugo Guillamón being sent off in the 3rd minute. Getafe’s Erick Cabaco earned a red card of his own to restore numerical equality. Despite having the lion’s share of possession (74%), Getafe simply couldn’t break the Valencia defence down.
Here are the player ratings from the La Liga opener:
Giorgi Mamardashvili (9/10): The Man of The Match! The 20-year old was phenomenal, making point-blank saves and keeping Valencia in the game single-handedly. The keeper made 4 big saves and deserved his clean sheet.
Thierry Correia (7.5/10): The right-back was an absolute menace down the right flank, using his pace and strength to create problems for the Getafe defenders. Had the most touches of any Valencia player and completed two tackles, one interception, three clearances, and a key pass.
Gabriel Paulista (8.5/10): The centre-back was relentless in his efforts to keep the Getafe attack at bay.
Omar Aldarete (7.5/10): Partnered well with Paulista at the heart of the defence and was vital to keeping the Getafe attack quiet.
José Luis Gayà (6.5/10): Had to curb his offensive instincts to support the defence. He was very physical with all his challenges.
Carlos Soler (7/10): Netted the winning penalty and positioned himself much deeper after Guillamón’s sending off. Didn’t look rusty.
Daniel Wass (6/10): He held the midfield together in Guillamón’s absence but couldn’t do much in terms of contributing either offensively or defensively.
Hugo Guillamón (NA): Hugo was sent off in the 3rd minute of the game and couldn’t do anything notable during those three minutes.
Denis Cheryshev (8/10): The Russian showed shades of his 2018 World Cup self with an energetic display on the left flank. Cheryshev won the decisive penalty that won Valencia the 3 points and was a helpful presence while defending.
Gonçalo Guedes (8/10): Guedes survived for 85 minutes on the pitch but was instrumental for Valencia on the counter. Led a majority of attacks on the break and completed four dribbles.
Maximiliano Gómez (6.5/10): Gomez won 6 aerial duels in a typical number 9 role. Valencia mostly attacked the break, and the Uruguayan used his pace to good effect.
Mouctar Diakhaby (NA): Came on for Soler and failed to register a single pass during his 11-minute cameo.
Uroš Račić (4.5/10): The Croat replaced Wass in the 68th minute but couldn’t do much to impact the game.
Jason (NA): Replaced Guedes in the 85th minute but had little to no time to make any contribution.
Rubén Sobrino (5.5/10): Injected a bit of energy into a Valencia side that were being pushed to the hilt by Getafe.
David Soria: (5.5/10): Wasn’t tested much by Valencia players except for the penalty from Soler, which he couldn’t keep out.
Damián Suárez (7/10): The right-wing back was a useful outlet down the right flank, providing overloads. Completed 95.5% of his passes.
Stefan Mitrović (5/10): Substituted after 45 minutes, wasn’t bad but was that convincing at the heart of the defence.
Djené Dakonam (5.5/10): He was left chasing Cheryshev’s shadows in the first half and also fouled the winger in Getafe’s area to concede the penalty. However, he improved as the game wore on and registered 3 key passes, 2 tackles, and the most passes of anyone on the pitch.
Erick Cabaco (3/10): Cabaco was all at sea during his display, getting into needless challenges, leaving behind spaces, not being able to match his man’s speed, etc. Got sent off in the 76th for a second booking.
Mathías Olivera (5.5/10): Couldn’t do much defensively as Correia absolutely dominated the battle down their wing, but he did deliver 3 key passes and was an outlet as a left-wing back.
Nemanja Maksimović (6.5/10): The defensive midfielder anchored the midfield well for Getafe, while also contributing with 4 shots during their onslaught. Completes the game with a 90.7% successful passing rate.
Carles Aleñá (5/10): The former Barca midfielder failed to stamp his authority on the game and lasted just the first 45 minutes.
Mauro Arambarri (7/10): The best Getafe player on the pitch. Took a game-high 7 shots, one of which cruelly hit the post in the second half. Pulled the strings well from the middle of the pitch and seemed possessed.
Sandro Ramírez (5/10): An unconvincing outing from the Spaniard. His first touch was heavy and he could simply not help Getafe the advantage of having an extra man. Had a key pass on the contrary.
Enes Ünal (5/10): Much like Sandro, he was pedestrian throughout the game. None of his three shots were on target.
Vitolo (6.5/10): He brought freshness to the team’s attack when he came on, but couldn’t help his team score a goal.
Jaime Mata (5/10): An ineffective substitute for Getafe tonight. With all the experience he has, he was expected to put on a better outing in the second half.
Hugo Duro (5.5/10): The youngster had one shot on target during his short cameo, but nothing outside that.
Marc Cucurella (6/10): Cucurella had a lung-bursting run in the second half where he pulled the trigger, only for the shot to be blocked. He got into good positions and was a tricky customer for Valencia to handle.
José Macías (4.5/10): Failed to complete a single pass. Had one shot that was off target and there was nothing else that was notable about his appearance off the bench.