First Division - Day 34

Villarreal 1 - Real Murcia 0

Villarreal: Reina; Belletti, Quique Alvarez, Ballesteros, Arruabarrena; Pedro Martí (Sonny Anderson 70'), Marcos Senna, Battaglia, Calleja (Roger 60'); Guayre (Riquelme 82'), Víctor. 4-4-2.
Real Murcia: Sánchez Broto; Maciel (Juanma 62'), Azcarate (Tato 72'), Cuadrado, Hurtado, Clavero; Luis García, Acciari, Richi, Michel (Julio Alvarez 75'); Juárez. 5-4-1.

Team changes: Villarreal: Belletti, Ballesteros, Pedro Martí, Battaglia, Calleja for Javi Venta, Coloccini, Josico, José Marí, Roger / Murcia: Sánchez Broto, Azkárate, Michel, Juárez for Juanmi, Jensen, Gancedo, David Karanka.

1-0. 68. Quique Alvarez. Got on end of Guayre's cross to score from close up.

Villarreal took advantage of slip ups by the sides above them to move up to eighth place, just one point behind Osasuna and Atlético, after defeating already relegated Real Murcia 1-0. After their UEFA cup semi-final midweek, Paquito decided to rest several of his key players, with Guayre and Víctor leading the attack and Sonny Anderson and Riquelme on the bench ready to come on later on if needed.

It took them a long time to break down John Toshack's well ordered defence though, although Víctor could have scored with less than a minute on the clock after returning keeper Sánchez Broto came out of his area and lost the ball, the striker's shot being blocked by a defender. After that the visitors closed ranks, and could have taken the lead themselves when Michel tested Reina with a curling free kick.

But the locals kept up the pressure, and midway through the second half they got their reward when Quique Alvarez got on the end of Guayre's pass to score. Paquito brought on Anderson and Riquelme after that, and the Brazilian striker chipped a shot just over the bar from right of goal. But Murcia came close to saving a point in the last few minutes when Reina stopped a late effort from Tato.