First Division - Day 22

Valencia 3 - Numancia 0

Valencia: Cañizares; Angloma, Pellegrino, Djukic, Carboni; Angulo, Mendieta, Baraja, Kily González; Juan Sánchez (Vicente 88'), Carew (Diego Alonso 66'). 4-4-2.
Numancia: Alvaro Nuñez; Iñaki, Antía (Caco Morán 62'), Soria, Marini, Octavio (Curro Montoya 88'); José Manuel (David Pirri 57'), Nagore, Manel; Iván Pérez, Rubén Navarro. 5-3-2.

Team changes: Valencia: Pellegrino, Baraja for Ayala, Deschamps / Numancia: Soria for Caco Morán.

1-0. 17. Juan Sánchez. Turned in Angulo's low cross on near post.
2-0. 40. Mendieta (penalty). After Kily supposedly tripped by Marini.
3-0. 80. Diego Alonso. Ran on to deep pass and chipped keeper from wide angle.

A comfortable victory by Valencia against struggling Numancia set them up for their midweek Champions League tie with Manchester United. Missing Ayala, suspended for two games after the disciplinary committee reviewed video evidence of his tussle with Simao, and with Aimar also surprisingly forced to sit out a one match ban picked up in his last match with River Plate, Héctor Cúper brought in Pellegrino even though he had been in a neck brace a couple of days before after an injury in training. The Numancia side only showed one change, Soria coming back into defence, with Manel moving back to midfield in place of Morán. Soria and Navarro are both on loan from Valencia this season.

Valencia needed a win having not taken the three points in a match since early January, and they came out quickly, Angloma setting up Juan Sánchez in the first minute only for the striker to head over. A quarter of an hour later the two combined again, this time with more success as Sánchez turned the Frenchman's low cross past Nuñez for his first league goal in eight weeks. Numancia were not giving up though, and Rubén Navarro caused some problems for Cañizares with a low shot, with Octavio too creating danger as he joined the attack. But then referee Losanos Omar gave Valencia a helping hand, ruling that Marini had tripped Kily González in the area. Kily found it hard to contain his grin as Mendieta converted the spot kick.

Cúper rested Carew shortly after half time, and Diego Alonso came on to score the best goal of the match, a lob over the advancing Nuñez from a wide angle on the right. Then five minutes from time Losantos Omar wiped the smile off Kily's face sending him off for a second bookable offence. But by then Numancia were ready to go home, and Valencia moved back into the running for the Champions League spots, taking advantage of Barcelona's defeat to move within a point of them in fourth place. With Real Sociedad and Osasuna losing, Numancia stay in seventeenth place, but a seven point gap has now opened up between them and the group of three teams immediately above them.