First Division - Day 1

Valencia 1 - Real Madrid 0

Valencia: Cañizares; Curro Torres, Ayala, Djukic, Carboni; Albelda, De los Santos; Angulo (Rufete 84'), Aimar (Ilie 76'), Vicente; Alieu Carew (Salva Ballesta 64'). 4-2-3-1.
Real Madrid: Casillas; Michel Salgado (Geremi 69'), Hierro, Karanka, Roberto Carlos; Makelele, Flavio Conceiçao (Savio 69'); Figo, Zidane, Raúl; Morientes (Guti 60'). 4-2-3-1.

1-0. 08. Angulo. Lifted ball past Casillas from close up after chip in from Vicente.

The season kicked off with a surprise defeat for league champions Real Madrid in the only first division match played on Saturday night. All talk before the game was about whether the signing of Zidane would affect Madrid's game, and whether Valencia had been able to spend the money received for the sale of their captain Mendieta wisely. Zidane did start the match, playing alongside Figo and Raúl in what must be the world's most expensive attack. However Valencia's new manager Rafael Benítez only included one new signing, De los Santos, in his starting line up, with Rufete and Salva coming on in the second half.

The only goal of the game came early in the first half when Angulo beat Casillas from close range after good work from Vicente, who was the best player on the park over the ninety minutes. Madrid's closest effort came from Makelele, who hit the bar with a header, but otherwise a ferocious Valencia defence kept them out. The match was a hard fought affair, with Valencia's Albelda celebrating his call up for Spain's squad with some hard tackling, and Madrid's Luis Figo could not contain his frustration and was sent off in the last minute when referee López Nieto gave him a second yellow card. This was the first time that Madrid had lost the opening game of the season in nine years, and gives Valencia their revenge after losing the opening game last season at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.