First Division - Day 21

Valencia 1 - Valladolid 2

Valencia: Cañizares; Angulo, Ayala, Pellegrino, Carboni; Rufete, Baraja (Aimar 60'), Albelda, Vicente (Kily González 70'); Mista, Ilie (Salva 50'). 4-4-2.
Valladolid: Ricardo; Torres Gómez, Mario, Caminero (Tena 60'), Peña, Marcos; Fernando, Jesús, Fernando Sales; Luis García (Chema 85'), Tote (Ricchetti 75'). 5-3-2.

Team changes: Valencia: Angulo for Curro Torres / Valladolid: No change.

0-1. 20. Luis Garcia. After Ayala brought down Luis García himself.
1-1. 26. Pellegrino. Following up after Ayala header from corner saved by Ricardo.
1-2. 34. Fernando Sales. Drove ball back in after Cañizares bad clearance.

A Valencia without ideas lost 1-2 to Valladolid in the Mestalla stadium, the first time they have been beaten at home this season. Rafa Benítez left Carew out of the squad after rumours that his move to Fulham was back on, and decided to maintain Mista and Ilie up front, with Salva having to make do with a place on the bench after returning from a one match ban. At first it appeared that he had made the right choice, as Ilie went close twice in the first few minutes, failing to take full advantage of a goalkeeping error from Ricardo, and then chipping a shot onto the bar from outside of the area. However Luis García gave a first warning when he wasted a chance in front of Cañizares soon after, and the Catalan forward won himself a penalty after stealing the ball off Ayala and allowing himself to be brought down by the Argentine defender in the area. Although Luis García's kick gave the visitors the lead, Valencia did draw level six minutes later when Pellegrino followed up after Ricardo saved from Baraja.

But then Cañizares made an uncharacteristic mistake when under pressure to clear a loose back pass by Pellegrino, misdirecting his kick straight at Fernando Sales who ran on to score into an empty net. Benítez brought on Salva, Aimar and Kily González after the break, hoping to take advantage of Valladolid's tiredness after their long cup second leg with Deportivo. But they were unable to come up with anything good enough to get past Ricardo and his defence, and the visitors almost added another at the end when Carboni cleared off the line from Fernando. As the game came to an end the demanding home fans booed their team off the field, and with very few points separating the top teams, the defeat means they drop out of the European spots to seventh. Valladolid have now beaten three European sides, Mallorca, Deportivo and Valencia, in consecutive league matches, and they move up to ninth place, only two now behind their opponents.