Valencia CF 1
0-1 (Silva 10)
- Match reports
- Sat 04 Aug 2007, 12:00AM
- Posted by Leon Collins
Dr Thaksin was given a rousing welcome by hundreds of City fans as he arrived at the stadium an hour before the match, and the new Chairman took the time to pose for photos and sign dozens of autographs.
Elano & Garrido, signed on Thursday, were both named in the starting line up, and with Bianchi the only out-and-out striker it would be interesting to see who would be linking up with him from midfield.
Kasper Schmeichel was named in the starting line up, with the highly rated Slovakian Academy keeper Filip Mentel shadowing him in the bench.
The visitors put out a strong looking eleven with Premier League experience on the bench in Del Horno and Morientes, plus the exciting David Villa waiting in the wings.
The biggest noise of the opening exchanges came when world champion boxer Ricky Hatton received a standing ovation as he took his seat in the stands, but on 10 minutes the crowd were silenced when Valencia took the lead.
After Fernandes had given the ball away in front of his defence, Valencia moved it over to Joaquin, whose shot was parried by Schmeichel into the path of Silva, who had the simple task of knocking the ball home from close range.
With the all the emphasis having been on the new signings, it was a nice moment when City came close to equalising through one of their Academy graduates. Elano did well to win the ball near the touchline, Michael Johnson curled it above and beyond the keeper with his left foot but it was just too high and rebounded off the crossbar.
The Brazilian, signed from Shakhtar Donetsk this week had a shot of his saved a minute later, and seconds after that the woodwork was rattling again. Elano whipped in a cross from the right and Rolando Bianchi deserved more than to see his header thump against the bar and away from danger.
Bianchi spurned a good chance on 35, the ball spinning over to the Italian after Petrov had charged it down. However, the striker’s stabbed effort from around six yards span harmlessly wide of the left hand post.
City’s home fans had their first view of Geovanni when he replaced his compatriot Elano after half time.
Martin Petrov, impressive again after his debut at Shrewsbury, set up the Blues first chance of the second half from a free kick but a Valencia defender just got in front of Micah Richards to deny City the chance to equalise.
A clever backheel from Bianchi on the edge of the box nearly found Ireland on the hour, but despite the Spanish defence thwarting him the crowd showed the striker their appreciation.
Kasper Schmeichel was on hand to come out of his area and clear twice, once with his feet and with his head the other time.
Stephen Ireland beat the offside on 66 minutes and slid behind the dead ball line to pull the back, but his good work went unrewarded with Valencia clearing once again.
Geovanni took a free kick from around 25 yards out with 77 minutes on the clock, but the Brazilian elected for power over placement and fired the ball straight into Valencia’s defensive wall.
He nearly made amends with five minutes left though, a spectacular volleyed scissor kick from a corner flying just inches over the bar. A great cross from Petrov seconds later only just eluded Corradi & Bianchi as City went all out for the equaliser.
Valencia nearly killed the game off a minute afterwards, Baraja’s first-time shot not being too far over Scheichel’s crossbar.