|First Division - Day 19|
Valencia 2 - Osasuna 0
Cañizares; Miguel, Raúl Albiol, Marchena, Moretti; Albelda,
Hugo Viana; Angulo, Mista (Kluivert 75'), Vicente (Regueiro 20'); David Villa
(Rufete 67'). 4-2-3-1.
Team changes: Valencia: Hugo Viana, Mista for Fabio Aurelio, Aimar / Osasuna: Ortíz for Delporte.
Osasuna may be the surprise package of this season's La Liga but next to Barcelona, Valencia are the team in form. The Chés went ahead against Osasuna in first half stoppage time. Miguel took a quick throw to Mista, who carried the ball from the centre circle before laying off a pass to Regueiro. The substitute took a touch before burying a powerful shot in the back of Ricardo's net. Valencia effectively sealed the victory five minutes after the restart. Angulo crossed from the right and David Villa arrived at the back post to head past Ricardo. This victory took Valencia to within three points of their opponents
Yet, second against third was likely to be a tight affair and neither goalkeeper was seriously threatened in the opening twenty minutes. Surprisingly, the loss of Vicente midway through the first half was to help turn the match in Valencia's favour. The influential midfielder was carried off with an ankle sprain after flashing an inviting ball across Ricardo's goalmouth. Regueiro replaced Vicente.
The match came alive just before the half hour. Albelda's fierce long drive looked net bound but just cleared Ricardo's upright. Osasuna then produced a sweeping counter attack and Webó shrugged off Marchena in the box before cutting the ball back for David Lopez. But his shot wasn't powerful enough to trouble Cañizares. An exchange between Webó and Cañizares then resulted in both players being booked.
David Villa showed he is more than just a fine goal scorer after 32 minutes with a long raking pass from the right. Regueiro hit his strike first time but it went just the wrong side of the post. A few minutes later Villa spun past Corrales in the penalty area but Ricardo saved well. Throughout the game Webó was a handful for Valencia's defence. The Cameroon forward released Romeo in the box. Cañizares again saved well, this time with his legs.
Osasuna battled on after Valencia's killer one-two either side of half time and the last quarter of the game was notable for a couple of incredible saves by Cañizares. From a corner Cuellar's powerful header looked certain to beat Cañizares low at his left. Somehow the Spanish international got down to claw the ball away in the style of England's Gordon Banks at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. In the final minute, after Ricardo had done well to deny Regueiro at the other end, Cañizares posted another "Don't you forget about me" World Cup message to Luis Aragonés. Webó was again the dangerman with a header just inside Cañizares' right hand post but again the goalkeeper magically kept it out.
Valencia deserved the victory and have now gone ten league and cup games without defeat. But they have their goalkeeper to thank for a sixth successive clean sheet.