First Division - Day 20

Valencia 1 - Mallorca 0

Valencia: Cañizares; Reveillère, Ayala, Pellegrino (Juan Sánchez 65'), Carboni; Albelda; Rufete (Baraja 69'), Aimar (Mista 76'), Vicente, Fabio Aurelio; Carew. 4-1-4-1.
Mallorca: Leo Franco; David Cortés, Fernando Niño (Miguel Soler 87'), Lussenhoff, Poli; Lozano, Marcos (Biagini 89'); Novo, Ibagaza, Riera (Carlos 67'); Eto'o. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Valencia: Cañizares, Reveillère, Carboni for Palop, Garrido, Baraja / Mallorca: Lozano for Pandiani.

1-0. 78. Mista. Controlled Vicente through ball and shot wide of keeper.

Valencia took advantage of the slips by the teams above them to close up on the top spots. They are now a point behind Madrid after recording their second 1-0 home win in a row, this time against Mallorca. The visitors were clearly tired after their midweek cup victory over Real Madrid, and without the suspended Pandiani they didn't get close to Cañizares' goal throughout the first half. Rafa Benítez had switched his team around, leaving Baraja on the bench and including his three left sided players, Carboni, Fabio Aurelio and Vicente, all in the side, with Vicente playing a more central role than usual. However the Mallorca defence held firm, and it was not until the second half that Carew and Vicente tested Leo Franco.

Mallorca had never won in the Mestalla stadium, but Gregorio Manzano didn't let that worry him, and midway through the second half he brought on Carlos to join Eto'o up front. Novo had a chance to score for the islanders soon afterwards when put clear on the right of the area, but Cañizares stood up to him and blocked the shot. Benítez decided on a change himself which brought some whistles from the crowd, taking off local hero Aimar to bring on Mista, but within two minutes of coming on the new man got the only goal of the match, collecting a ball in from Vicente to steer a shot wide of Franco. That set up a more lively last ferw minutes, but Valencia held on for their third victory in a row to take them back in contention for the title.