First Division - Day 6

Barcelona 0 - Valencia 1

Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Puyol, Márquez (Saviola 82'), Reiziger, Van Bronckhorst; Xavi, Gerard; Luis Enrique (Luis García 87'), Ronaldinho, Overmars (Quaresma 73'); Kluivert. 4-2-3-1.
Valencia: Cañizares; Curro Torres, Ayala, Marchena, Carboni; Albelda, Baraja; Jorge López, Mista (Canobbio 80'), Vicente (Rufete 54'); Oliveira (Sissoko 64'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Barça: Xavi, Overmars for Cocu, Motta / Valencia: Ayala, Oliveira for David Navarro, Aimar.

0-1. 15. Oliveira. Ran on and fired shot over Valdés into roof of net.

Valencia held on to first place with a 0-1 victory against a poor Barcelona side, who drop out of the European spots as a result. Ayala returned to Rafa Benítez's side for the first time this season, his new contract now signed, but Aimar had not fully recovered from an injury and was left on the bench just in case he was needed. Motta and Cocu were suspended for the locals, but Overmars and Xavi took their places and the two almost combined to score early on. Cañizares was up to it though, as he was from Kluivert a couple of minutes earlier, and with a quarter of an hour on the clock Baraja found Oliveira for him to volley a shot over the head of Víctor Valdés for what was to prove the only goal of the game.

Valdés did stop Mista from increasing the lead before the break though, and the home crowd bayed for a penalty soon after the restart when Ayala brought down Van Bronckhorst in the area. Luis Enrique almost caught out Cañizares later on, but otherwise Barça were limited to long shots which never troubled the keeper and Rijkaard left it too late to bring on effective reinforcements.

Valencia could even have won by a bigger margin had the two substitutes Sissoko and Canobbio kept their cool near the end, the former shooting over the top when free and the latter choosing to shoot from a difficult angle rather than pass to his colleague, who had an open goal in front of him. But Valencia had done enough to keep their fifth clean sheet in a row, and they move back above Deportivo, who had overtaken them with their win the night before.