We didn’t learn a whole lot yesterday that we didn’t know already but the main lessons were still unavoidable, ie that the attack’s not good enough without Adebayor and that the defence isn’t good enough without some new blood, especially on the left where Rose was in general the weakest link despite the nervous Naughton having to face the highly touted Konoplyanka on the other flank. Rose may use the excuse of an early injury to explain his periodic MIA episodes and given the state of the pitch and the laissez-faire attitude of the Spanish ref we can count ourselves lucky to not return with anything more serious to worry about than Rose’s niggle if that does indeed prove to be the case.
I said in yesterday’s preview that Soldado needed to be at his best if we were to come back with an away goal so let’s hope that this wasn’t it. His poor header from Chadli’s cross in the first half and skied effort in the second after some great work by Paulinho were our clearest chances and both should’ve been put away. If either of them had of been then it’s unlikely we’d have faced quite such an onslaught in the last quarter of the game and be far more sanguine about next week’s second leg.
As it is, Soldado doesn’t presently appear to be able to get a clean contact when near goal and thus, thanks in the end to some desperate last minute defending; Thursday’s rematch is set up nicely. Dnipro looked set up well and have pace on the break. It should be a good game.
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