First Division - Day 22

Málaga 1 - Valencia 6

Málaga: Arnau; Rojas, Fernando Sanz, Litos (Gerardo 63'), Josemi; Miguel Angel, Romero (Juanito 63'); Manu, Insúa (Calatayud 27'), Duda; Salva. 4-2-3-1.
Valencia: Cañizares; Garrido, Ayala, Pellegrino (Marchena 41'), Carboni; Albelda, Baraja; Rufete, Mista (Juan Sánchez 61'), Xisco; Oliveira. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Málaga: Manu, Insúa for Gerardo, Canabal / Valencia: Garrido, Baraja, Rufete, Xisco, Oliveira for Curro Torres, Angulo, Jorge López, Aimar, Vicente.

0-1. 04. Mista. Header past Arnau after Oliveira crossed in from right.
0-2. 15. Oliveira. Connected with Garrido's cross to fire shot into top of net.
0-3. 48. Marchena. Fired shot past keeper after corner headed back.
0-4. 58. Oliveira. Headed ball into top corner from Xisco's cross.
0-5. 66. Oliveira. Header down across keeper from Xisco's cross.
0-6. 72. Albelda. Slid ball in at second attempt after Calatayud blocked first shot.
1-6. 74. Salva. Ran through on to ball from midfield and fired shot wide of keeper.

Valencia bounced back from their cup elimination by Real Madrid midweek cup to thrash Málaga 1-6 and move back to the top of the table pending Sunday's games. With Aimar injured, Rafa Benítez played with forwards Mista, Oliveira and Xisco all in the side, and they raced into an early two goal lead when Mista headed home Oliveira's cross and then Oliveira found the net after Garrido set him up from the right.

Things got worse for the home side when keeper Arnau was sent off around the half hour mark for handling the ball outside of the area in a rapid Valencia counter attack. The visitors could not take advantage for the rest of the first half though, and there was concern when Pellegrino collapsed unconscious on the pitch near the break with nobody near him, although hospital tests confirmed that there was nothing seriously wrong with the defender.

Valencia really took off in the second half though, scoring four more in the first twenty five minutes after the restart. Marchena started things off, beating substitute keeper Calatayud after the defence failed to clear a corner, and Oliveira headed in two more in less than ten minutes, both from virtually identical crosses from Xisco, to complete his second hat-trick for the club. And Albelda made it six a few minutes later, following up himself after his first effort was pushed away by the young keeper.

Málaga finally did get a consolation goal, but ironically even that came from a Valencia player, on-loan Salva scoring his fifteenth of the season against the club who let him go as they didn't think he was a good enough striker. But it didn't calm down the fans, and they are asking for drastic action after the team fell to their fifth defeat in a row.