The last time Iker Casillas played against Valencia, the Bernabéu did not forgive him. In Cologne, however, he crossed paths with Nuno’s side again and this time received the respect of those in attendance. His every touch was met with chants of “Olé” and shouts of “Iker, Iker” were heard every few minutes. The friendly match should serve Casillas well in his latest chapter with Porto.
His German fans had to make do with a few short passes during the match, with Valencia not putting him fully to the test. The format of the tournament meant that penalties decided the winner should the match finish in a draw, and Casillas was the hero. He guessed correctly to deny Joao Cancelo, Porto’s sixth penalty taker and give Porto victory. It also ensured the goalkeeper took the man of the match award.
For Nuno, the result was put to one side as Valencia looked at the friendly as a dress rehearsal ahead of the Champions League qualifying matches. In 17 days, Valencia will be back in competitive action. His Valencia offered less than more. They were better in defence, a task in which Enzo Pérez and Parejo helped out, but in attack they were limited to just one good chance for the latter, who was denied by Martins Indi, and a few dangerous crosses that came to nothing.
With Otamendi starting, Nuno returned to play a back four in a 4-3-3. Cancelo (Barragán was sidelined), Mustafi and Gayà were alongside the Argentine in defence. It was the only part of Valencia that remained unchanged in the 90 minutes and that allowed Los Che to keep a fourth clean sheet from five friendly matches so far this summer. Nuno’s defensive unit at least looks like a well-oiled machine.
Porto showcased the stamp that coach Julen Lopetegui has placed on the club, one which combines strength and touch. At times it looked as though they would secure the victory in normal time but they struck Mat Ryan’s crossbar three times. It seems that Porto will also miss Jackson Martínez this year.