By the time Valencia even arrived in the United States for the
inaugural Guinness International Champions Cup, it knew it had no
shot of winning the tournament.
So the Spanish club did the next best thing, bouncing back with
a pair of shutouts.
Miguel Herrero scored in the 53rd minute, giving Valencia a 1-0
victory over Everton in the fifth-place match of the eight-team
Guinness tournament on Tuesday night. Valencia won both of its
matches on U.S. soil in the event by a combined 5-0 count, with the
club’s lone loss in the tournament coming at home to AC Milan back
on July 27.
”We are very proud to have played in this event,” said
Valencia coach Miroslav Djukic, the former defender for the club
who took over as coach after it finished fifth in the Spanish
League and just missed out on a Champions League berth this past
season. ”With these matches, we have shown that we belong among
Herrero, who goes by ”Michel,” controlled Aly Cissohko’s cross
from the left side with his chest, let the ball settle at his feet
and fired a one-timer past Everton goalie Joel Robles.
And it held up from there, even though Everton had more than one
good chance at the equalizer.
Everton’s best opportunity at breaking through came shortly
after Herrero’s goal, when Kevin Mirallas flicked a ball to
himself, took off up the right wing and sent a cross that got
through the box – but didn’t result in a shot on net.
Robles kept Everton within one when he made a point-blank save
on Ibanez Robert in the 69th minute, coming off his line to deny
the Valencia forward.
The sixth-place finishers in the Premier League last season,
Everton had two losses – both to Spanish clubs – and a draw in the
tournament, which pitted eight club teams against each other in a
series of exhibitions that will culminate in Real Madrid facing
Chelsea in the title match Wednesday night.
”These games were fantastic,” Everton coach Roberto Martinez
said. ”We were able to work on many things. We got information
from all the players. We formed partnerships and how they
interacted with each other.”