First Division - Day 19

Albacete 0 - Valencia 1

Albacete: Almunia; Oscar Montiel (David Sánchez 66'), Pablo, Unai, Peña; Redondo (Fabiano 46'), Viaud, Álvaro Rubio, Delporte; Pacheco (Basti 80'), Mikel. 4-4-2.
Valencia: Cañizares; Garrido, Ayala, Marchena, Carboni; Albelda, Sissoko (Baraja 62'); Rufete, Aimar, Jorge López (Xisco 69'); Mista (Angulo 81'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Albacete: Unai, Delporte, Mikel for Buades, David Sánchez, Aranda / Valencia: Garrido, Sissoko, Rufete for Curro Torres, Baraja, Vicente.

0-1. 08. Jorge López (penalty). After Aimar tripped by Peña on edge of area.

Valencia are the winter champions after beating Albacete 0-1 to move ahead of Real Madrid at the midway point in the season. Rafa Benítez's side took the honorary title thanks to a controversial penalty when Aimar was tripped by Peña, referee Moreno Delgado turning down the home side's claims that the foul was committed just outside of the penalty area. And local keeper Almunia almost saved Jorge López's spot kick, getting a hand to it and tipping it on to the post only to see it dribble over the line.

César Ferrando's team tried their best to come back, with Unai testing Cañizares with a tricky header from Alvaro's free kick before half time. The manager brought on his new signing from Brazil, Fabiano, at the break, and he showed some good touches, although he should have done better with one chance which he put over the bar. And Delporte also could have equalised when his low shot brushed the outside of the post.

The visitors could have had a bigger victory in the end though, substitute Angulo bringing a couple of first class saves from Almunia late on. But they had done enough to win, and they ended the first half of the season on top of the pile with their best ever points haul at this stage of the season.