|First Division - Day 2|
Valencia 4 - Mallorca 0
Cañizares; Anglomá, Djukic, Pellegrino, Carboni; Mendieta,
Deschamps, Baraja, Vicente; Zahovic (Juan Sánchez 64'); Diego Alonso
(Carew 78'). 4-4-2.
Team changes: Valencia: Djukic, Vicente for Björklund, Kily González / Mallorca: Miguel Soler, Novo for Finidi, Francisco Soler.
With captain Gaizka Mendieta at the helm, the destroyer HMS Valencia sank a defenceless Mallorca tugboat without trace (Ed. - that's enough maritime analogies thank you). Fresh from their victory over Olympiakos in the Champions League, manager Héctor Cúper would have liked to keep the same line up, but unfortunately the new Spanish regulations limiting the number of non-EU players to three on the field at any one time meant that one of Djukic, Kily González, Zahovic and Diego Alonso would have to be left out. Speculation before the match was that Zahovic would draw the short straw after failing to impress in his opening games, or otherwise new signing Roberto Ayala (who has an EU passport) would replace Djukic, but in the end it was Kily who gave up his place to under 21 international Vicente, making his league debut. First reports were that Kily had picked up a groin strain, but the player later claimed that he was fit and was unhappy about being left out.
Whatever the case Vicente took his opportunity, scoring Valencia's third goal, beating Roa from outside of the area. Earlier Mendieta had given his side a two goal lead after scoring from the penalty spot and then getting his second with a house special from 25 metres out. It was not all Valencia though, with Mallorca starting well but missing a reliable striker, with Finidi injured and Luque and Eto'o at the Olympics. Five or six times in the first half hour they had scoring chances, but each time their efforts ended up in the safe pair of hands of Santiago Cañizares. A minute after Mendieta's penalty, they had their best chance to get right back in the game after Llonch Andreu immediately awarded a second spot kick, this time to the visitors. However Biagini failed for the second time in two matches, Cañizares guessing right and stopping the shot. Last week Luis Aragonés replaced Biagini before half time after his miss, this week he lasted 55 minutes, with youngster Güiza getting his chance alongside his Mallorca B team mates Novo and Robles. After a long lay off through injury last season, the Argentinian striker has not yet returned to the form he showed two seasons ago, scoring eleven goals when Cúper was in charge at Mallorca.
Another player who has yet to play the full 90 minutes is Valencia's Zahovic, and once again Cúper took him off halfway through the second half. His replacement was Juan Sánchez, and he made his claim for the second striker's spot with the fourth goal of the match within three minutes of coming on. With Ilie not fully fit (again), Angulo in Sydney and Carew yet to settle in, Sánchez could get his chance in their midweek Champions League game against Heerenveen. With a flattering four goals in the bag, Valencia put the game into 'slow-speed-ahead', and put into harbour waiting for their next embarkation (Ed. - stop that, please). With every team in the first division getting at least a point in the first two games, Mallorca drop to bottom place, although they have more than enough quality to move back up the table once their absent stars return.