Five-star Valencia hammer Indonesia

Jakarta — The La Liga side left out star striker Roberto Soldado for the game due to an injury. But the effortless manner of their victory meant that they rarely missed their top-scorer from last season in the friendly match in Jakarta.
Indonesia, who included players from the breakaway Indonesian Super League for the first time, were loudly supported by a sparse crowd but they posed little challenge to the third-placed side from the previous La Liga season.

Goals by Pablo Piatti, Paco Alcacer and Ricardo Costa in the first half demonstrated the gulf in class between the two sides. And Pablo Hernandez scored a wonderful goal from distance early in the second half with Alcacer adding a second shortly afterwards to boost his claims for a regular starting berth.

Piatti’s goal came within four minutes of the start as some determined dribbling by Jonas dragged the Indonesian defence out of position allowing an unmarked Jeremy Mathieu to cross in for the Argentinean to score from a simple tap-in.

Indonesia tried to reply immediately with striker Patrich Wanggai doing well to dribble and make space for himself but his shot, and Indonesia’s first, from distance was easily saved by Diego Alves.

Los Che were in the ascendancy for the rest of the half with the attacks mainly focused down the right as the combination of Antonio Barragan and Hernandez proved especially fruitful.

In the 14th minute, the duo combined well to keep Nova Setya Sasongko pre-occupied and Jonas received the cutback and released Alcacer with a brilliant through-ball.

The young striker snuck in between the left-back and Wahyu Wijiasanto and made no mistake with his first-time shot to score Valencia’s second.

For Indonesia, Oktovianus Maniani was working the hardest to ensure that Indonesia were not permanently camped in their own half. Unfortunately for the left winger, he found the support wanting and his crosses were easily dealt with by the centre-backs.

Indonesia custodian Wahyu Tri Nugroho was kept busy with crosses by Piatti and Hernandez from both wings but he was undone once again as his clumsy attempt to punch away a 25th-minute corner was collected by Jonas and the Brazilian lobbed in a cross from the by-line for Costa to head towards the top right corner.

Jonas was the star of the first half as he marshalled the midfield and his flick-ons, back-passes and marauding runs caused the Indonesian defence no end of concern.

Another pass by the midfielder allowed Piatti to poke a shot at goal in the 32nd minute but it was tame and easily collected by the Indonesia keeper.

The local fans only had something to cheer in the 34th minute as a cross by the energetic Oktovianus was nearly reached by captain Bambang Pamungkas in a promising position only for the Valencia goalkeeper to punch the ball away.

Towards the end of the half, Piatti appealed for a penalty after the ball was swept off his feet and Hernandez went close again with a header off a cross by Barragan. Indonesia’s Abdul Rahman had a chance from close range but his volley went high and wide as the first half came to a tame finish.

But the Merah Putih had the first clear chance after the restart as a perfectly weighted cross by Wanngai reached Muhammad Ridwan but the winger’s shot was deflected off the post for a corner.

Alcacer tried a cheeky lob when the ball fell onto his path only to hit the underside of the bar and Oktovanius tried to cut in on the inside and try an angled shot from the resulting counter-attack in the early skirmishes of the second half.

Hernandez showed Oktovanius how to do it properly in the 53rd minute as he took the ball down the left wing and shifted it towards the outside of his foot and scored with a scorcher from 25 yards out.

Fernando Gago also had an opportunity to score from close range but the former Real Madrid midfielder smashed it just over the bar.

Alcacer scored his second through a low shot from a routine cross from the right by substitute Sofiane Feghouli in the 55th minute.

Tino Costa, who had replaced the excellent Jonas during the break, had a decent shot from distance and coach Mauricio Pellegrino then chose to rest all his main players and give the likes of Juan Bernat, Alex Quintanilla and Felipe Ramos a chance to impress.

Indonesia captain Pamungkas got a chance to head the ball from the edge of the box in the 72nd minute but Felipe Ramos had all the time in the world to make the save.

Pamungkas was swapped shortly afterwards for Ferdinan Sinaga and Titus Bonai was also brought on to give further steel to the midfield but Valencia held on to score a well-deserved friendly win.[]


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