First Division - Day 1

Valencia 1- Betis 0

Valencia: Cañizares; Raúl Albiol, Ayala, Moretti, Fabio Aurelio; Albelda, Baraja; Rufete (Marchena 82'), Aimar (David Villa 87'), Vicente; Mista (Kluivert 63'). 4-2-3-1.
Betis: Doblas (Contreras 34'); Oscar López, Juanito, Nano, Luis Fernández; Marcos Assunçao (Xisco 80'), Arzu (Dani 67'), Rivera; Joaquín, Edu; Oliveira. 4-3-2-1.

1-0. 53. Aimar. Picked up rebound in area and lifted ball past Nano before scoring.

Valencia recovered from their midweek disappointment of being knocked out of the Intertoto Cup by beating a Betis side who themselves had classified for the Champions Leage a few days earlier. Having failed to score in 180 minutes of football against Hamburg, Quique Flores decided to leave Kluivert and Villa on the bench and give Mista the striker spot. And after Joaquín and Vicente had gone close at either end, Mista almost put his side ahead with a shot which came back down off the crossbar with Doblas beaten.

The visiting keeper had to be carried off only a few minutes later after picking up an injury, but his replacement Contreras had little to do for the rest of the first half. At the other end Cañizares only had to keep out a dangerous free kick from Marcos Assunçao, and a closely marked Oliveira made little impact on his return to the Mestalla stadium.

Valencia finally made the breakthrough though early in the second half, Aimar connecting with Fabio Aurelio's cross and having a first shot blocked by Juanito, but picking up the rebound and lifting the ball ast Nano before shooting wide of Contreras. Serra Ferrer quickly brought on Dani, and Cañizares had to make an important save from a Nano (or Kluivert?) header following a free kick, and then another from a bouncing shot by Oliveira late on. But the hosts held on for a first win of the season, a great relief for Flores after a bad week.