First Division - Day 15

Valencia 1 - Athletic Bilbao 1

Valencia: Cañizares; Miguel, Raúl Albiol, Ayala, Moretti; Baraja, Fabio Aurelio (Kluivert 77', Hugo Viana 85'); Angulo (Mista 66'), Aimar, Vicente; David Villa. 4-2-3-1.
Athletic: Aranzubia; Expósito, Luis Prieto, Lacruz, Tarantino; Orbaiz, Bordas, Gurpegui; Etxeberría (Casas 64'), Yeste (Iraola 54'); Dañobeitia (Llorente 69'). 4-3-2-1.

Team changes: Valencia: Fabio Aurelio for Albelda / Athletic: Expósito, Tarantino, Bordas, Dañobeitia for Iraola, Murillo, Casas, Urzaiz.

0-1. 60. Etxeberría. Glancing header wide of Cañizares from Orbaiz free kick.
1-1. 76. Vicente. Beat Aranzubia with shot inside area after Aimar squared across.

Valencia moved up to the Champions League spots pending Sunday's games after a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao, although they were disappointed to only get a point in a match which they dominated from start to finish. Quique Flores's side did all the attacking in the first half against Javier Clemente's ultra-defensive line up, but they found it difficult to create any real chances. Vicente tested Aranzubia early on and Miguel fired a couple of long efforts wide, but the only real danger came five minutes before the break when Vicente shot over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

The locals continued to attack after the restart, and Aimar hit the outside of the post with an angled shot which had Aranzubia beaten. Athletic had hardly encroached into their opponents half up to then, and Clemente made his intentions clear when he took off his best forward Yeste to bring on Iraola. But just five minutes later the visitors took the lead, Etxeberría getting on the end of Orbaiz's long free kick to glance a header down past Cañizares.

A minute after the goal though, Athletic were left with ten men when Tarantino was shown a red card for a hard tackle (elbow included) on Angulo. Another defensive substitution followed, Casas for Etxeberría, and now Dañobeitia (later Llorente) was left by himself up front.

Finally the hosts made the breakthrough, a quick Baraja free kick sending away Aimar for him to set up Vicente to score. But a last throw of the dice from Flores didn't pay off when Kluivert came on but limped off with n injury soon afterwards, and Valencia's run of three wins in a row had come to an end. Clemente had the point he wanted, and his side climb above Racing Santander and out of the relegation zone, for 24 hours at least.