First Division - Day 4

Valencia 3 - Rayo Vallecano 0

Valencia: Cañizares; Curro Torres, Marchena, Pellegrino, Fabio Aurelio; Albelda, Baraja (Juan Sánchez 71'); Rufete, Aimar (Angulo 65'), Vicente (De los Santos 78'); Mista. 4-2-3-1.
Rayo: Etxeberria (Oscar 56'); Mario, Corino, Mainz, Graff; Pablo Sanz, Onopko; Julio Alvarez (Marqués 68'), Peragón (Michel II 46'), Dorado; Bolic. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Valencia: Pellegrino, Fabio Aurelio, Albelda, Mista for Ayala, Carboni, De los Santos, Carew / Rayo: Dorado for Quevedo.

1-0. 34. Mista. Got ahead of defence to slide Vicente cross into net from a yard out.
2-0. 45. Baraja (penalty). After Mainz ran into Mista from behind.
3-0. 87. Angulo. Bent free kick into far top corner of Oscar's goal.

Last season's league champions Valencia move back to the top of the table after a comfortable victory over Rayo Vallecano. Rafa Benítez's side have not lost in the league since March, and the manager put another strong line up, resting Ayala and the injured Carboni but bringing back Albelda in midfield and giving a start to Mista after scoring twice as substitute in his last two games. That meant there was no recognised centre forward in the side, but Mista filled the role to perfection, turning in Vicente's cross for the first goal ten minutes before half time.

Up until then Rayo had not looked bad, with Peragón (for once not trying to dive in the penalty area) causing some problems. Valencia stepped up a gear though, and it was no surprise when they scored again just before the break, even though Rayo can consider themselves unlucky to concede a penalty after Mainz appeared to accidentally run into the back of Mista. Baraja had no doubts though, and he stepped up to send Etxeberría the wrong way with his spot kick.

With a two goal advantage Valencia slowed things down after the break. Fernando Vázquez made changes, bringing on Michel II and then introducing the league's youngest player Marqués, who had been expected to be in the starting line up. However he could do not do any more as he had already lost goalkeeper Etxeberría, who had to limp off after clashing with Baraja, and youth team keeper Oscar came on to make his debut. With the game coming to a close he showed his inexperience though, Angulo catching him out of place with a curling free kick from outside of the area to score the third of the night. Valencia clock up their ninth home win in a row, and are once again off to a good start.