|First Division - Day 14|
Real Sociedad 0 - Valencia 0
Westerveld; López Rekarte, Schürrer, Kvarme, Aranzábal;
Karpin, Xabi Alonso, Alkiza (Aranburu 72'), Gabilondo; De Paula (Nihat 65'),
Team changes: Real: Schürrer for Jauregi / Valencia: Marchena, Rufete, Oliveira for Albelda, Jorge López, Mista.
Leaders Valencia were held to a 0-0 draw by Real Sociedad in the opening match of week 14. Despite the result it was an exciting game, and could have finished with several goals had circumstances been different. The locals had two goals disallowed by referee Puentes Leira in the first half, the first a borderline offside by Karpin and the second a supposed hand ball by Kovacevic, and the official also turned down a possible penalty by Ayala on Kovacevic. And both sides had numerous opportunities to score in a lively first half, with, for example, De Paula heading just wide from an early corner and Vicente shooting over the bar with the goal at his mercy midway through the half.
De Paula continued to create problems after the break, and he shot over the bar again following a corner. At the other end Marchena brought a good save out of Westerveld with a shot from the edge of the area after another corner kick. Denoueix finally turned to Nihat, who was just coming back from an ankle injury, and the Turkish forward made his mark straight away, firing a shot against the crossbar within minutes of coming on. The rebound fell to Gabilondo, but first Curro Torres and then Pellegrino blocked his shots on goal.
Probably the best chance of the match though fell to Rufete late on after Aimar produced a defence splitting pass, the Valencia winger beating the offside trap and rounding the keeper, but shooting into the side netting with the goal at his mercy. After that the only Real have now gone eight games without a win, and they received bad news as well in their Champions League campaign, the win by Galatasaray over Juventus earlier in the evening meaning that they have still not qualified for the last sixteen.