First Division - Day 11

Alavés 1 - Valencia 1

Alavés: Herrera; Contra, Karmona, Eggen, Geli; Tomic, Desio; Astudillo, Jordi Cruyff (Ibon Begoña 86'), Magno (Iván Alonso 62'); Javi Moreno. 4-2-3-1.
Valencia: Cañizares; Ayala, Djukic, Pellegrino; Angulo (Björklund 81'), Albelda, Baraja (Milla 89'), Vicente; Mendieta; Juan Sánchez (Diego Alonso 67'), Carew. 3-4-1-2.

Team changes: Alavés: Eggen, Magno for Téllez, Ibon Begoña / Valencia: Ayala, Baraja for Carboni, Zahovic.

1-0. 66. Iván Alonso. Headed down past keeper after Geli crossed from left.
1-1. 78. Carew. Shot from edge of area after defence splitting pass by Mendieta.

Valencia saved a point in the Mendizorroza stadium to hold on to their lead at the top of the table. And once again it was a late goal from Norwegian striker John Carew that saved the day after Alavés had dominated for a large part of the match. With Téllez suspended for three games, Mané brought back Eggen in defence, with Magno preferred on the left of midfield to Ibon Begoña. Valencia were missing players through injury, with both full backs Angloma and Carboni joining Deschamps and Kily González on the medical list. As a result Cúper opted for his number two line up, three central defenders, with the versatile Angulo playing at left wing back and Vicente keeping his place on the other side. Baraja returned in midfield after a one match suspension, but Deschamps was still not fit and Albelda was preferred to Zahovic.

Honours in the first half were more or less shared, although the home side created more chances, with Cañizares saving well from Magno on two occasions. Mendieta was at the heart of all the Valencia attacks, playing in a position behind the front two. In the second half the Vitoria side spotted a weakness down the wings, with Contra and Geli getting the better of the two wing backs. Mané brought on Iván Alonso to assist Moreno up front, and only a few minutes later he opened the scoring with a well placed header after Geli had left Angulo and Ayala for dead on the left.

Shortly afterwards Javi Moreno could have extended their advantage, but Cañizares got a hand to his header to save the day. Cúper followed Mané's lead and brought on Iván Alonso's cousin Diego for a disappointing Juan Sánchez, and although he didn't score, his presence inspired his team to equalise. Once again it was Mendieta who found the gap, his through ball leaving Carew with the relatively easy task of shooting past the despairing Herrera. There wasn't time for much more and Alavés lost their chance to go to the top of the table, ending the weekend down in fifth place. Valencia stay ahead of Deportivo on goal average, despite having now gone three games without a victory. They do need to start winning again soon though if they are to stay at the summit.