First Division - Day 3

Numancia 0 - Valencia 3

Numancia: Nuñez; Iñaki, Jaume (Chispa Delgado 78'), Muñiz, Soria, Manel; Marini, Nagore, Pacheta (Barbu 58'); Ojeda (Octavio 46'), Rubén Navarro. 5-3-2.
Valencia: Cañizares; Anglomá, Djukic, Pellegrino, Carboni; Mendieta, Milla (Zahovic 70')), Baraja, Vicente (Ayala 85'); Juan Sánchez; Diego Alonso (Carew 46'). 4-4-2.

Team changes: Numancia: Jaume, Soria for Gustavo, Montoya / Valencia: Milla, Sánchez for Deschamps, Zahovic.

0-1. 76. Sánchez. Pass from Mendieta after Zahovic won back ball.
0-2. 83. Sánchez. From close up after Baraja headed down corner.
0-3. 85. Vicente. Bent shot past keeper after Sánchez backheel pass.

Valencia waited until the last fifteen minutes of the match to turn on the magic and defeat a ten-man Numancia side. The man who turned it all around was Juan Sánchez, who had been given his chance by manager Héctor Cúper in the place of off-form Zahovic after scoring in the last match. Sánchez got the first two goals and laid on the third for new boy Vicente with a clever backheel, and he could have had a hat-trick if his shot had not crashed against the crossbar five minutes from time.

With Deschamps out for another couple of weeks after his recent injury and Albelda and Angulo still in Sydney, Milla got a rare opportunity in midfield. Vicente kept his place on the left with Kily still not fit (and more interested in signing his new contract than playing), and new signing Ayala started on the bench, but made his debut near the end. Numancia have three Valencia players on loan, and two of them were included in the starting line up, Soria and Rubén Navarro, with the other, Curro Montoya, on the bench.

The first few minutes belonged to Numancia, with Muñiz putting a header just wide early on, but the game was turned on it's head when referee Andradas Arsurmendi sent Soria off for a second bookable offence eight minutes before half time, the defender reaching out without thinking after slipping and stopping the ball with his hand. Herrera was forced to bring on another defender, Octavio, at half time for striker Ojeda, and the momentum was lost. The introduction of Zahovic added another dimension to Valencia's play, and he set Mendieta off down the right wing for him to lay the ball back for Juan Sánchez. The rest is history. Valencia move up to fourth and must be a good contender for top honours this year. Numancia have not made the good start they did last year, and have a long hard season ahead of them. Soria will stay in Soria for the next game, feeling sorrier for himself? Ouch! Sorry, couldn't resist.