First Division - Day 27

Valencia 3 - Deportivo La Coruña 0

Valencia: Cañizares; Curro Torres, Ayala, Marchena, Carboni; Albelda, Baraja (Sissoko 66'); Rufete, Aimar (Juan Sánchez 32'), Vicente; Mista (Angulo 80'). 4-2-3-1.
Deportivo: Molina; Manuel Pablo (Duscher 76'), César, Andrade, Romero; Sergio, Mauro Silva; Scaloni, Valerón, Luque (Fran 60'); Pandiani (Diego Tristán 73'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Valencia: Marchena, Carboni, Albelda, Rufete for Pellegrino, Garrido, Sissoko, Angulo / Deportivo: Manuel Pablo, César, Pandiani for Naybet, Víctor, Diego Tristán.

1-0. 22. Vicente (penalty). After Mauro Silva brought down Aimar from behind.
2-0. 92. Vicente. Ran on to pass from left and fired shot across Molina.
3-0. 93. Juan Sánchez. Header down past keeper from Vicente cross.

Second placed Valencia closed the gap with Real Madrid to six points after a flattering 3-0 win over the team immediately below them, Deportivo La Coruña. After some controversial refereeing decisions against Rafa Benítez's side in recent weeks their luck changed, and they were awarded two penalties in the first twenty minutes of the game by referee Esquinas Torres. The first was hotly disputed by the Depor players after Romero appeared to bring down Vicente just outside of the area, but justice was done when Molina saved Baraja's poor kick. There was no doubt though a few minutes later when Mista broke though and saw his shot blocked by Cañizares, the ball falling to Aimar who was flattened from behind by Mauro Silva as he lined up to score. The visiting captain was shown the red card, and Vicente stepped up to fire an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net.

Up to that point the visitors had not done badly, with Scaloni and Sergio both forcing Cañizares into good saves. But the goal and the sending off hit them badly, and although Valencia lost Aimar to an injury, his replacement Juan Sánchez and Mista could both have added to the lead before the break. The star of the match though was Vicente, and the Spanish international winger hit the bar twice either side of half time.

Deportivo were not out of it though, and Cañizares had to make a spectacular one handed save from a César header to keep his side in front. Pandiani headed straight into the hands of the keeper and Scaloni and Fran both put efforts wide, and it seemed that Irureta's men could still save a point. But with the game already in injury time, Vicente gran through to score his second of the night, and then crossed in for Sánchez to head home a third. The result not only took Valencia four points above their rival, but also gave them a superior head to head goal average, an important factor if they end the season level on points. All in all a good night for the local fans after a couple of recent disappointments.