|First Division - Day Ten|
Minnows Rayo Vallecano are back on top again after beating Valladolid 1-2 at the Zorilla stadium. The Madrid side kept up their incredible run since winning promotion last season, picking up their fourth away victory of the season into the bargain which takes them to the level of the best teams in Europe. The club were able to field central defender Hernández this week as their appeal against his sending off last week was upheld, although a similar appeal for Alcázar was turned down and he was replaced by Clotet. Canabal continued up front, returning to old hunting grounds at the club he played for last season, and he played alongside Bolo, who had scored in his last 3 away matches. Valladolid brought back Peternac, pairing up with Víctor for the first time this season. Playing the last game of the day, Rayo knew that a win would take them above Barcelona, and they started off with a vengeance attacking César's goal from the first minute. In the ninth minute their efforts were rewarded, Jordi Ferrón following up to shoot past the local keeper after Bolo's effort was blocked. On the half hour Juande Ramos decided to replace Canabal with a defender Amaya, a move which went down badly with the striker, but with a view to defending the lead. With Kasey Keller once again on outstanding form his team hung on until the 68th minute, but Víctor finally got through after Peternac laid the ball across the goalmouth for him. Valladolid continued to attack, but Rayo came back on the counterattack and seven minutes from time they were back in the lead, Llorens beating César with a strong shot from a wide angle after substitute Michel I put him through. With two minutes to go García Calvo hit the crossbar, but it wasn't to be Valladolid's night. Rayo took the three points to set up a fascinating tie next Saturday at home to Real Madrid.
Barcelona's manager Louis Van Gaal rested six of his star players midweek to prepare for the difficult tie in La Coruña, but it was to no avail as the leaders fell 2-1 to the Gallician side. After scoring midweek on his return from injury, Déhu kept his place, and Gabri came in for the injured Luis Enrique. Víctor Fernández brought in Turu Flores to join Dutch international Makaay up front for Depor, leaving top scorer Pauleta on the bench. The move paid off quickly, and within a minute the home side were in front, Deportivo's own Dutchman controlling Djalminha's cross to shoot past Arnau. Fifteen minutes later they were 2-0 up, Makaay scoring again. this time from Manuel Pablo's pass. Van Gaal left Déhu and Abelardo on the bench at half time and brought on Puyol in defence and Simao on the right wing, moving Figo to the left, and the move seemed to settle the team. In the 66th minute Rivaldo pulled a goal back, shooting through a crowd of players after a corner. Turu hit the post four minutes later, but after that Depor retreated to defence, and shut up shop to record their sixth win against Barcelona in the Riazor stadium this decade. They move up to fourth, two points behind second placed Barcelona and level on points with Zaragoza and Celta.