First Division - Day 4

Rayo Vallecano 3 - Celta Vigo 0

Rayo: Lopetegui; Alcázar, De Quintana, Ballesteros, Mingo; Michel, Helder (Iván Iglesias 85'), Poschner, Setvalls (Mauro 65'); Quevedo (Ferreira 87'); Bolo. 4-4-1-1.
Celta: Pinto; Velasco, Cáceres, Djorovic, Juanfran (Manolo 75'); Giovanella, Vagner (McCarthy 60'); Karpin, Mostovoi (Jesuli 22'), Gustavo López; Catanha. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Rayo: Setvalls for Glaucio / Giovanella, Karpin for Doriva, Jesuli.

1-0. 16. De Quintana. Headed Poschner's corner past Pinto.
2-0. 88. Mauro. Charged forward and beat keeper with angled shot.
3-0. 92. Michel. From tight angle out on left side of goal.

Celta lost their place at the top of the division after they were beaten by a superior Rayo Vallecano side. The Gallician club were riding high having won all their first three games, although they were worried about this one having failed to get a point off Rayo last season home and away, with Rayo's small pitch limiting Celta's natural game down the wings. Their gruelling trip to Croatia on Thursday for a match which went into extra time also took its toll, with players arriving back in Spain exhausted after their efforts. Rayo too had played in the UEFA cup on Thursday, but their match against Molde was at home, and they cruised through relatively easily.

Víctor Fernández rested Doriva, bringing in Giovanella in midfield, and Pinto returned in goal after Cavallero had played in the UEFA cup tie. Rayo's manager Juande Ramos left Glaucio and Bartelt, two of his new star signings, in the stand after their disappointing performances to date, and relied on his lesser known but workman like players to do the job for him. Setvalls started for the first time, and they too changed their keeper, Lopetegui coming back in for Keller. Luis Cembranos was still not quite fit, so Quevedo kept his role in support of Bolo up front.

All eyes were on the centre forward on the other side however, with Catanha having been called up to Spain's squad just days after getting his Spanish passport. Juande Ramos in particular paid him special attention, sitting Ballesteros and De Quintana on his shoulders, and after he was shown a yellow card by the over-zealous referee Ramírez Domínguez in the first half for a tackle on Ballesteros, he finally was asked to take an early bath after he earned a second yellow card for handling the ball in frustration halfway through the second half - not the ideal build up to your first international match. Earlier Rayo had been the better side, and they took the lead on the quarter hour mark through De Quintana, who left marking duties to go up for a corner Rayo were more on target throughout the first half, with Pinto having to save from Michel and Helder, whereas Celta didn't trouble Lopetegui until round about half time, when he proved his excellent form with saves from Djorovic and from Jesuli, who had replaced Mostovoi in the first half.

With McCarthy already on the field, Víctor didn't replace Catanha after his sending off, but he did bring on Manolo a bit later to add drive in midfield. Lopetegui kept out McCarthy, but with ten man Celta doing most of the attacking Rayo broke clear, with substitute Mauro getting past his marker and beating Pinto with a crossed shot. Then as the game went into injury time Michel added a third, Pinto having gone walk about expecting a cross. The 8,000 crowd started a Mexican wave to show that there really is life in Vallecas, and went home content having seen their side keep up their unbeaten record for the ninth game in a row. Celta's players go off around the world for their various international commitments, but they are still third and take this result as a small hiccup and nothing more. Pass the Alkaseltzer please.