First Division - Day 32

Villarreal 0 - Deportivo La Coruña 2

Villarreal: Reina; Belletti, Quique Alvarez, Ballesteros, Javi Venta; Marcos Senna, Josico; José Marí (Arruabarrena 10'), Riquelme (Sonny Anderson 46'), Calleja (Roger 63'); Víctor. 4-2-3-1.
Deportivo: Molina; Manuel Pablo, Andrade, Naybet, Capdevila; Sergio, Mauro Silva; Munitis, Valerón (Luque 60'), Fran (Djalminha 74'); Pandiani (Diego Tristán 46'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Villarreal: Belletti, Quique Alvarez, Javi Venta, Josico, Calleja, Víctor for Pedro Martí, Coloccini, Arruabarrena, Battaglia, Roger, Sonny Anderson / Deportivo: Naybet, Sergio, Munitis, Fran, Pandiani for César, Duscher, Víctor, Luque, Diego Tristán.

0-1. 39. Pandiani. Header down across keeper from Fran's cross.
0-2. 90. Diego Tristán. Ran through from halfway line to chip ball over keeper.

Deportivo La Coruña held off the challenge of Barcelona to stay in third place after a 0-2 victory at Villarreal. Both sides came in to the match with midweek successes in Europe, the visitors after their epic win over AC Milan in the Champions League and the home side after their draw at Celtic in the UEFA cup, and the two managers made several changes to their starting line ups to rest tired legs.

Villarreal have been a bogey side for the Galicians in the past, but they had to the chance to correct that when referee Turienzo Alvarez awarded them a dubious penalty on the quarter hour mark, ruling that Quique Alvarez had handled the ball deliberately in the area. Reina guessed correctly though and dived to push away Pandiani's kick, the fourth penalty he has saved this season.

Paquito had to make changes to his side when José Marí limped off early on, switching round his full backs and pushing Belletti further forward. The Brazilian full back caused problems in his new position, and could have scored a couple of times with more luck. But six minutes before the break Pandiani made up for his penalty miss, heading Fran's cross down past the keeper for the opening goal.

Paquito brought on Sonny Anderson at the break, and together with Víctor they carved out two or three chances which Molina did well to deal with. But it was Depor's half time substitute Diego Tristán who caused more problems, and after going close a couple of times he finally got the goal he was looking for, running half the length of the pitch before spooning the ball over the head of Reina in the last minute of the match.