First Division - Day 18

Valencia 0 - Levante 0

Valencia: Hildebrand; Arizmendi, Iván Helguera, Marchena, Moretti; Sunny (Edu 46'), Baraja, David Silva; Joaquín, David Villa (Mata 75'), Vicente (Zigic 64'). 4-3-3.
Levante: Kujovic; Descarga, Alvaro, José Serrano, Rubiales; Tommasi, Berson; Juanma (Ettien 62'), Pedro León (Miguel Angel 62'), Courtois (Saúl 78'); Geijo. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Valencia: Hildebrand, Iván Helguera, Sunny, David Villa, Vicente for Mora, Miguel, Caneira, Montoro, Mata / Levante: Kujovic, Alvaro, Berson, Pedro León, Courtois, Geijo for Storari, Bruno Cirillo, Javi Fuego, Riga, Savio, Riganò.

Goals: None.

A big derby fixture between city rivals Valencia and Levante, both sides coming in to the match with serious problems both on and off the pitch. Levante are trailing down at the bottom of the table, and their situation has been aggravated by financial problems, with players lining up to leave after not having been paid for some time. And in Mestalla, Ronald Koeman's draconian measures have only served to worsen the situation, so far at least, and there were serious protests against the directors' box after the game ended 0-0.

Valencia were on top for most of the game, with David Villa curling a low free kick just wide of the post, Helguera heading over and Kujovic (who was making his league debut after Storari walked out of the club midweek) having to save from Helguera and Villa amongst others. However the visitors could have taken the lead had Hildebrand not produced a spectacular save from Alvaro's header close to half time.

The match continued in the same vein after the restart, Kujovic keeping out Villa, Arizmendi and Baraja, and other efforts flying wide of the mark. But once again Hildebrand was called on to block an effort from Geijo when he broke free in front of goal. Joaquín came closest to scoring though with a long free kick which Kujovic tipped on to the bar, and Edu headed the resulting corner over the top.

With five minutes to go however, substitute Zigic was sent off for a scything tackle on José Serrano, and after that both sides settled for a draw. That provoked a serious waving of hankies from the home supporters, who have not seen their side win now in six games. The point did little for Levante's fortunes either, although it was the first they had taken away from home all season.