First Division - Day 31

Valencia 3 - Alavés 0

Valencia: Cañizares; Reveillère, Ayala, Marchena (Juan Sánchez 83'), Fabio Aurelio; Albelda (Pellegrino 73'), Baraja; Rufete, Aimar (Carew 80'), Vicente; Angulo. 4-2-3-1.
Alavés: Dutruel; Geli, Karmona, Téllez, Ibon Begoña; Luis Helguera, Pablo; Mara (Magno 65'), Astudillo, Jordi Cruyff (Ilie 65'); Iván Alonso (Rubén Navarro 78'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Valencia: Marchena, Baraja, Vicente for Pellegrino, Carboni, Mista / Alavés: Ibon Begoña, Luis Helguera, Mara, Iván Alonso for Llorens, Desio, Edu Alonso, Rubén Navarro.

1-0. 31. Reveillère. Following up after Rufete shot blocked by Ibon Begoña.
2-0. 56. Rufete. Took pass from Angulo and hit angled shot across keeper.
3-0. 67. Aimar. Ran on to Baraja through ball to shoot low past Dutruel.

Valencia moved back into the fourth Champions League spot with an easy 3-0 win over struggling Alavés. The result was a boost for Rafa Benítez's side, who had lost their Champions League tie with Inter Milan midweek and who now have to finish in the top four to return to the competition next season. The manager put out a side similar to the one who played against Inter, switching Angulo to centre forward and bringing in Fabio Aurelio and Rufete for Carboni and Carew. And after dominating for the first half hour, the locals took the lead after a good run by Rufete, Reveillère scoring his first goal for his new club after the winger's shot was blocked.

Mané's side recovered though, and Pablo missed a chance to level the scores before the break. But just when it looked as if they might come back, Valencia scored again, Rufete beating Dutruel after Angulo put him through on the right of the area. Alavés were beaten, and Aimar added a third goal ten minutes later after Angulo left Baraja's pass to him.

The bad news for Benítez was that Albelda and Vicente ended the match with injuries, and both will have to pull out of Spain's friendly international with Ecuador. Worse news for Mané though, and after six years at the club, the manager was fired by president Anton and replaced by B team manager Txutxi Aranguren. The new man has plenty of experience managing second division teams. It should stand him in good stead for next season.