Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Jozy Altidore was a second half substitute for Villarreal who battled to a scoreless draw with Valencia in the first leg of their Round of 16 Copa del Rey match-up at Estadio Mestalla in Valencia.
Altidore came on in the 71st minute for midfielder Marcos Senna who had to leave the game with an injury.
Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido slotted Altidore in as an attacking midfielder on the left side of the field while keeping his starters Nilmar and Giuseppe Rossi up front as forwards.
Altidore also picked up a yellow card in the 81st minute for a tackle from behind on former Spanish international Joaquin.
Valencia came out the more assertive team and controlled the bulk of the first half. The seven-time Copa winners controlled the midfield and put a choke hold on Villarreal's normally fluid style of play.
Just after the halftime break, Juan Mata nearly gave Los Che the lead but his volley rang off the post in what was arguably Valencia's best scoring opportunity of the match.
Senna's injury 20 minutes from time paved the way for the US international to take the field and seven minutes later Altidore almost left a permanent stamp on the match with a near-assist.
The New Jersey native played a perfect through ball into Nilmar who beat the offsides trap and had a one-on-one with Valencia goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.
The Brazilian forward went to his left to try to go around Guaita but instead collided with the netminder and lost possession. Appeals for a penalty kick were made but referee Delgado Ferreiro was quick to wave those off.
Three minutes later Altidore misjudged a Santi Cazorla corner kick and in an attempt to recover possession, the former Hull City man brought down Joaquin forcing Ferreiro to show him yellow much to the delight of the Mestalla faithful.
A late opportunity for the Yellow Submarine came in the form of a throw-in to Altidore deep in the Valencia area. The 21 year old played a quick ball to Rossi but the Italian international was whistled for a foul before he could even fire a shot.
Altidore and Villarreal will now take two weeks off before returning to La Liga action this first week in January. Currently they are slotted to play Almeria on January 3rd however a change is expected to occur in light of the scheduled January 5th return leg date versus Valencia.