First Division - Day 12

Valencia 2 - Oviedo 0

Valencia: Cañizares; Ayala, Djukic, Pellegrino; Angulo, Albelda, Baraja, Kily González (Vicente 73'); Mendieta; Angulo (Ilie 78'), Carew. 3-4-1-2.
Oviedo: Esteban; Keita, Danjou, Martinovic, Ivo (Rabarivony 46'); Amieva (Rubén 55'), Onopko, Tomic, Rubén Reyes (Iván Ania 65'); Losada, Oli. 4-4-2.

Team changes: Valencia: Kily González, Angulo for Vicente, Juan Sánchez / Oviedo: Ivo for Boris.

1-0. 50. Mendieta (penalty). After Keita handled Angulo's through ball.
2-0. 64. Kily González. Speculative shot over keeper from outside penalty area.

Valencia held on to their top spot for the seventh week in a row with a comfortable victory against an Oviedo side that has yet to score a goal away from home this season. Héctor Cúper's side needed a victory, having only picked up two points in their last three games, and they came in to this game full of confidence after their victory against Sturm Graz midweek in the Champions League. Héctor Cúper stuck to the same formation he used in that match, with Ayala returning for Björklund and Angulo replacing Sánchez, who was suffering from gastro-enteritis. Mendieta passed a late fitness test, and Ilie came in to the squad for the first time in over fifteen weeks having recovered from his knee injury, making an appearance in the last ten minutes of this game. The only change in Radomir Antic's side was the inclusion of Ivo at left back for the injured Boris, with Rubén Reyes keeping out Iván Ania in midfield.

In the fourth minute of the game, referee Esquinas Torras awarded a penalty to Valencia after Esteban brought down Carew in the penalty area. Mendieta stepped up to take it, but Esteban guessed right and saved. It was the third penalty that Valencia had missed in a row after Mendieta and then Sánchez had missed spot kicks against Lyon and Zaragoza respectively in recent games. The Oviedo keeper has been the saviour of his side on several occasions this season, and for the rest of the first half he showed why Camacho had called him up as his second choice keeper for Spain recently. Then in the second half it was Groundhog Day, Mendieta finding himself once again in front of Esteban in the fourth minute after Keita was adjudged to have handled a flick on by Angulo. It was a harsh decision by the referee as the action appeared to be involuntary, but Mendieta struck the penalty kick a bit harder in the same spot as the last one, and although Esteban got there again, the force of the ball carried it over the line.

Shortly after the goal Antic brought on another forward, Rubén, as he pushed his team up. But Kily ended their resistance a few minutes later, spotting Esteban off his line and firing a long shot over his head from outside of the area. Mendieta and Carew could have added to the score, but in the last minute Tomic was unlucky not to get Oviedo's first away league goal when his shot crashed against the crossbar. It was not to be, and Oviedo have the unusual distinction of being the team with the best home record and the worst away record in the league at the same time. They drop out of the top spots down to ninth, but are still only three points off third place. If all goes true to form, they should be back there next week when they win their next game at home. Funny game, football.