Real Madrid Vs. Valencia, Copa del Rey 2013: Guaita Keeps Valencia Alive

Denis Doyle

It wasn't very pretty, but still, Real Madrid managed to keep a clean sheet and score two goals in order to take one step towards being in the Semifinals of this edition of the Copa del Rey. Valencia had some chances of scoring, but Jonas failed at converting them, so now his team will have to win 3-0 to advance to the next round. Goalkeeper Guaita was Valencia's best man as he saved two clear chances by Cristiano Ronaldo that could've wrapped up the tie.

When Mourinho decided to play with the most talented players at his disposal, neither one of them made a big impact. Modric, Özil, Marcelo, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo were on the pitch for the whole first half and Real Madrid only scored off a counterattack. Özil didn't play well on the right, but as soon as Modric left the pitch, he moved to the middle and started the produce. The thing is, Modric played quite well there also.

Khedira was arguably Real Madrid's best player, though. He works really hard on defense and he's also starting to contribute a lot offensively as well. If he had a more clinical finishing in the box, his value would be around Yaya Touré's. Khedira is still very young, so wait for him to improve his game as he's done in his two and a half years in the club.

The game started well for both teams. Valencia had the ball but couldn't produce offensively, while Real Madrid's playmakers had to wait for counterattacks to contribute some. It must amaze Mourinho how his most creative midfielders can't keep the ball for long against a team with Tino Costa, Banega and Parejo. Still, Modric and Özil had the quality to create some good chances for their teammates down the road.

But the first goal came off a counterattack. Casillas had made quite a good save a couple of minutes before off a shot by Jonas. Then, Essien launched the counterattack alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema and Khedira. Four Real Madrid men against three Valencia defenders. Ronaldo decided to move to the right wing to open up space for Benzema and Khedira. The French player let the ball go pass him, Khedira first-touched it and delivered a nice assist to Benzema, who only needed to push it inside.

The first half concluded and Mourinho introduced Coentrao for Marcelo. Real Madrid's Brazilian left back lacked the rhythm and the pace to play for 90 minutes, and he suffered a bit against Piatti in the first 45, so this seemed like a good substitution by Mourinho.

Later, the Portuguese coach also decided to remove Modric and place Di María on the right wing to attack Andrés Guardado. Di María showed some improvements, but it was Mesut Özil the one who performed brightly after that tactical change.

Jonas had a chance to tie the game up after an iffy clearance by Casillas. The ball fell right in Jonas' feet, but he missed the target without any Real Madrid player bothering him. After that, Guardado scored an own-goal to give Real Madrid even more breath for the second game of the tie.

Guaita showed everybody how good of a goalkeeper he is to prevent Cristiano Ronaldo from scoring two times when the game was already 2-0. That'd ended the tie, but Valencia now have a slim chance of meeting Barcelona or Málaga in the next round of this competition.

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