Latest Match Results: This is the story of how Valencia made history by thrashing Real Madrid 4-1 on Sunday, owes something to a grandmother, a grandad, Dani Parejo, Peter Lim, Getafe’s Djene Dakonam, an angel, a demon and, of course, one of Los Che’s most famous ball boys.
This is the jam-packed, Keystone Kops, eye-of-the hurricane saga of how Carlos Soler came to miss, score and then score twice more, all from 11 meters out (36 feet) on the penalty spot, to hand Zinedine Zidane his worst defeat as Madrid manager. It’s a story so good that it prompted Valencia’s local football paper, Superdeporte, to title their Monday morning front page: “Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!”
The whole intertwined process starts a week ago when Valencia and Getafe furiously stoked their long-running feud with a foul fest of a 2-2 draw at Mestalla.
Bear with me, though. As much fun as that vendetta match was, it’s crucially important as to why Soler became Valencia’s favourite son for his heroics against the Spanish champions.
Picture the scene a week ago. Playing with 10 men since the 56th minute, in a match that produced eight yellow cards and two reds, Valencia has led their hated enemies Getafe until the 87th minute. Getafe’s Cucho Hernandez equalizes, and then, entering the 95th minute with just 60 seconds of added time left, Getafe substitute Angel knees the ball home after it rebounds to him off Jaume Domenech’s post. Cue Valencian desolation.
Not only is their agonizing, month-long winless run about to continue, but also they’ve had a ton of salt rubbed in that wound because it’s the bruising, aggression-bristling Getafe side who waited until the dying seconds to turn defeat into “victory.”
From the ensuing kickoff, with just 45 seconds left, Daniel Wass launches a Hail Mary ball into Getafe’s penalty area. Right then, believe it or not, the calamities are about to begin for Real Madrid as well as for Pepe Bordalas’ side from the southern suburbs of Spain’s capital.
Valencia’s Uruguayan striker, Maxi Gomez, is being pawed at by Getafe’s streetsmart right-back, Damien ‘Rules are for Suckers’ Suarez. So frantic is the chase for the ball that Getafe’s captain, Djene, trips on his teammate’s legs and crashes into Gomez to send him tumbling. Penalty. PENALTY! And straight from the kickoff!
Complete and utter mayhem erupts. Meanwhile, quietly, Soler goes and picks up the ball. He knows that when the tempest subsides, he is tasked with being the designated survivor.
The penalty is given on 95:27 minutes, but while Djene stomps about the penalty area, refusing to accept referee Jorge Figueroa’s decision, bobbing up and down as he howls into the night and rants at the “injustice,” time passes, and the horrible, unfair pressure on Soler mounts. Eventually, Djene relents to something like power-sharing with the ref, Suarez is sent off for persistent attempts to show the referee the error of his ways, and Jaime Mata is booked for refusing to let the penalty be taken. To make matters worse, Djene has taken the ball from Soler amid the melee and thrown it away.