First Division - Day 14

Villarreal 0 - Valencia 2

Villarreal: Reina; Quique Alvarez, Berruet, Unai, Arruabarrena (Quique Medina 54'); Belletti, Galca (Javi Venta 57'), Josico (Xavi Gracia 65'), Jorge López; Víctor, Palermo. 4-4-2.
Valencia: Palop; Garrido, Ayala, Pellegrino, Carboni; Albelda (Enguix 38'), Marchena; Rufete (Albiol 78'), Aimar, Fabio Aurelio; Angulo (Carew 39'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Villarreal: Quique Alvarez, Berruet, Galca for Ballesteros, Guayre, Marcos Senna / Valencia: Garrido, Ayala, Pellegrino, Carboni, Albelda, Rufete, Aimar for Curro Torres, Djukic, Baraja, De los Santos, Vicente, Juan Sánchez, Carew.

0-1. 53. Carew. Rounded Berruet and chipped keeper from wide angle.
0-2. 62. Carew. Took ball round keeper and shot in from right of goal.

Second placed Valencia put pressure on leaders Real Sociedad with a 0-2 victory over neighbours Villarreal. It was a first time ever victory for the East coast side in the Madrigal stadium after two draws and a loss in their only three visits in the league, and the result opens up a four point gap with third place in the table, currently occupied by Real Madrid. The game was a friendly affair though, with fans mixing together before the match, Palop, Albelda and Angulo all returning to the ground where they had played earlier in their careers, and both sides coming out together holding an Argentina flag in solidarity with the economic crisis in a country which supplied several of the players. Injuries to five players and suspensions for Baraja and Curro Torres meant that visiting manager Rafa Benítez had to put out the only side he could, with Angulo playing as striker and Fabio Aurelio moving forward to the left of midfield, and Villarreal were also missing key men, with Senna, Guayre and Aranda injured and Ballesteros suspended.

The injury problems got worse though for Benítez late in the first half, Albelda and Angulo having to go off within a minute of each other and B team midfielder Enguix and then striker Carew taking their places. Up to then scoring chances had been few and far between, but the introduction of Carew in particular was to be the turning point, the big Norwegian striking twice in the second half to give his side the three points. Eight minutes in to the second half he rounded Berruet to chip the ball past Reina and in off the post from an almost impossible angle, and nine minutes later he repeated the act, rounding the keeper to score again from wide on the right.

By then the home side were down to ten men, Quique Alvarez getting himself sent off for a second bookable offence shortly after the first goal, but they came close to scoring later in the half, Palop proving his form against Arsenal was not just a flash in the pan with a reaction save from Javi Venta. Valencia though could and should have won by a bigger margin, Reina saving from Carew and Aimar and then Carew missing a sitter when young substitute Albiol set him up in front of goal in the closing minutes. The defeat sends Benito Floro's team once again back down to the lower spots in the division, and they ended the weekend only a point above the bottom three in fifteenth place.