|First Division - Day 17|
Valencia 1 - Sevilla 0
Cañizares; Curro Torres, Ayala, Marchena, Garrido; Albelda (Sissoko
20'), Baraja; Jorge López (Angulo 66'), Aimar, Vicente; Mista (Xisco
Team changes: Valencia: Garrido, Baraja for Carboni, Sissoko / Sevilla: Oscar, Podestá, Gallardo, Antonio López for Aitor Ocio, Javi Navarro, Casquero, Reyes.
Valencia moved back to the top of the table pending Sunday's games with a narrow 1-0 win over Sevilla. It was a match with few scoring opportunities, the visitors clearly having come to the Mestalla stadium to defend from the start and swamp any attacking move the hosts could put together. At the same time though they were looking for a possible strike on the breakaway, and Darío Silva and Baptista both came close to surprising Cañizares early on.
It was a hard game though, Valencia losing Albelda to an injury with only twenty minutes gone, and a minute later Aimar being attended to on the touchline after receiving an elbow in the face from Redondo. The tackle earned the full back a yellow card, and the Argentine international spent the rest of the first half carrying an ice cube which he kept applying to his eye socket to reduce the swelling.
The home side gradually took charge though in the second half, and a good run from Vicente allowed Mista to force Esteban to push his close range effort over the bar. The keeper could do nothing though from the resulting corner, Mista powering a header past him for his ninth league goal of the season.
Caparrós threw on all his fire power after the goal, including Reyes who had been left on the bench at the start, the Spanish international playing on the right to take advantage of the inexperience of makeshift left back Garrido, himself replacing the suspended Carboni. But it was to no avail, and substitute Xisco almost increased the lead when he hooked a shot over the bar right at the end. It didn't matter though, and for 24 hours Valencia moved two points ahead of Real Madrid at the top, their unbeaten run in the league now extended to six matches.