First Division - Day 23

Valencia 3 - Atlético Madrid 0

Valencia: Cañizares; Garrido, Ayala (Fabio Aurelio 85'), Marchena, Carboni; Albelda (David Navarro 63'), Baraja; Angulo, Xisco (Juan Sánchez 75'), Vicente; Mista. 4-2-3-1.
Atlético: Sergio Aragoneses; Gaspar, Lequi, Santi, Sergi; Simeone; Novo, Jorge (Gabi 83'), Ibagaza, Musampa (Contra 55'); Nikolaidis (Paunovic 68'). 4-1-4-1.

Team changes: Valencia: Marchena, Angulo, Vicente for Pellegrino, Rufete, Oliveira / Atlético: Sergio Aragoneses, Santi, Sergi, Novo, Jorge, Musampa for Juanma, García Calvo, Aguilera, De los Santos, Nano, Fernando Torres.

1-0. 31. Mista. Headed through hands of Aragoneses after corner from left.
2-0. 66. Vicente. Surprised keeper with looping shot from wide on left wing
3-0. 71. Mista. Picked up pass from Angulo and rounded defender to score.

Valencia kicked off two hours before championship rivals Real Madrid on Saturday night, and temporarily moved back above them after a comfortable 3-0 victory over fourth placed Atlético Madrid. With Fernando Torres out injured, visiting manager Gregorio Manzano lined up with Nikolaidis alone in attack, and the Greek striker put a shot over the bar and had a penalty appeal turned down in the opening minutes. But after that Valencia took control, and shortly after Mista headed over the bar, the forward got on the end of Vicente's corner to head his side's first goal through the hands of keeper Sergio Aragoneses, who was making his league debut after being called back from Getafe.

The keeper made up for his mistake later in the half though when he turned Baraja's free kick away for a corner, and Atlético could have equalised after the break when Jorge tested Cañizares. But their attacks were cut short when Sergi picked up a second yellow card a couple of minutes later, and Vicente made it two midway through the second half with a long shot from out on the left which caught Aragoneses by surprise.

Mista got a third five minutes later when he picked up a pass from Angulo and left Simeone for dead before scoring, his thirteenth in the league this season. And with their opponents in disarray they could have got more, Mista hitting the bar and Baraja having a goal disallowed for offside near the end. The crowd were having a field day, and they applauded Fabio Aurelio on to the pitch when he came on as a late substitute, his first appearance for eight months since picking up a serious injury. Their team ended the weekend two points behind Real Madrid, who they play next Sunday in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.