First Division - Day 34

Athletic Bilbao 1 - Valencia 1

Athletic: Aranzubia; Javi González, Lacruz, Karanka, Del Horno (Larrazábal 40'); Orbaiz, Gurpegui; Iraola (Arriaga 69'), Etxeberría, Yeste; Urzaiz. 4-2-3-1.
Valencia: Cañizares; Curro Torres, Ayala, David Navarro, Garrido; Marchena (Baraja 80'), Sissoko; Jorge López, Angulo, Vicente (Xisco 83'); Oliveira (Rufete 70'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Athletic: Aranzubia, Orbaiz, Yeste for Lafuente, Tiko, Ezquerro / Valencia: Curro Torres, David Navarro, Sissoko, Oliveira for Carboni, Baraja, Albeada, Mista.

0-1. 13. Jorge López (penalty). After Lacruz handled ball whilst on ground.
1-1. 30. Del Horno. Ran in to head Yeste's free kick past Cañizares.

Valencia failed to take full advantage of Real Madrid's defeat earlier in the evening, although the point they earned in their 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao was enough to take them clear of their rivals at the top of the table. Once again Rafa Benítez rotated his players after their UEFA cup semi-final against Villarreal midweek, with Oliveira getting another run out up front, and the Brazilian striker was involved in the play which brought about the first goal when Lacruz handled the ball on the ground as the forward battled for possession, Jorge López converting the resulting penalty.

For a while it looked as if Valencia would get a second, but on the half hour mark the on-form Del Horno took advantage of slack marking to head Yeste's free kick past Cañizares and level the scores. And the keeper had to be at his best a few minutes later when Yeste volleyed on target after a good team move.

The action continued in to the second half, with Angulo and Iraola going close at either end in the opening minutes. But gradually both sides decided a point was enough, local manager Ernesto Valverde aware that his closest rivals for the UEFA cup spots had all slipped up. Athletic ended the day in fifth place, now four points clear of Osasuna and Atlético Madrid.