First Division - Day 37

Villarreal 2 - Valencia 1

Villarreal: Reina; Belletti, Quique Alvarez, Coloccini, Arruabarrena; Battaglia (Marcos Senna 66'), Josico (Pedro Martí 86'); José Marí (Guayre 46'), Riquelme, Roger; Sonny Anderson. 4-2-3-1.
Valencia: Rangel; Curro Torres, David Navarro, Pellegrino, Garrido; Jorge López, Albelda (Marchena 46'), Sissoko, Canobbio; Juan Sánchez (Mista 77'), Oliveira (Aimar 52'). 4-4-2.

Team changes: Villarreal: Belletti, Battaglia, Josico, Roger, Sonny Anderson for Javi Venta, Pedro Martí, Marcos Senna, Guayre, Víctor / Valencia: Rangel, David Navarro, Pellegrino, Garrido, Canobbio, Juan Sánchez for Cañizares, Ayala, Marchena, Carboni, Vicente, Xisco.

1-0. 14. Sonny Anderson. Pulled down centre by Belletti and shot wide of Rangel.
2-0. 26. Riquelme. Picked up Anderson pass and rounded two defenders to score.
2-1. 36. Pellegrino. Header down past Reina from Jorge López corner.

New league champions Valencia lost 2-1 to neighbours Villarreal on Friday night, ending their run of ten games without defeat. The match was brought forward to allow Rafa Benítez's side time to prepare next Wednesday's UEFA cup final, but in the end the manager rested almost all of his first choice players, with only Curro Torres playing the full 90 minutes. The home side were looking to keep up their push for one of the UEFA cup spots, and although they were pinned back in the opening minutes they went in to a two goal lead, Sonny Anderson controlling Belletti's cross to score the opener and Riquelme adding a second midway through the first half with an individualist effort.

Pellegrino headed one back before the break though, and Reina had to be at his best a minute later to keep out a clever flick from Oliveira. And Valencia kept up the pressure after the restart, Reina blocking an effort from Juan Sánchez and Canobbio heading against the post. Villarreal could have added to their scoreline as well though, Roger in particular going close two or three times, including one effort which Curro Torres headed off the line, and Rangel saved well from Pedro Martí near the end. But Paquito's side had got their revenge for their elimination from this year's UEFA cup competition and they move up to fifth in the table pending the rest of the weekend's games. The Valencia fans didn't mind much though; their league is already over and have they have their minds on other things. The dancing went on well into the night.