First Division - Day 15

Valencia 2 - Espanyol 1

Valencia: Renan; Miguel, Raúl Albiol, Marchena, Moretti; Baraja, Albelda, Manuel Fernandes (Morientes 52'); Joaquín (David Silva 60'), David Villa, Mata (Vicente 74'). 4-3-3.
Espanyol: Kameni; Lacruz, Jarque, Pareja, Beranger; Moisés Hurtado, Román Martínez (Torrejón 55'); Rufete, Luis García, Nené (Lola 83'); José Callejón (Valdo 74'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Valencia: Marchena, Moretti for Maduro, Del Horno / Espanyol: Lacruz, Moisés Hurtado, Román Martínez, Luis García for Sergio Sánchez, Lola, Angel, De la Peña.

0-1. 28. Román. Cut out pass and ran on to fire shot which deflected in off Albiol.
1-1. 58. Raúl Albiol. Drove shot back across Kameni after corner came across.
2-1. 81. Vicente. Ran on to Villa return pass and struck angled shot past keeper.

Yellow cards: Rufete 10', 38', Román 20', Fernandes 33', Lacruz 62', Moretti 66', Moisés 79', Albelda 90', Miguel 92', Berenguer 92' / red cards: Rufete 38'.

Valencia moved up to second spot pending Villarreal's game on Sunday after coming from behind to beat Espanyol 2-1. Mané's influence is starting to be seen at the Catalan side, and Nené brought a good save out of Renan before Román picked up the ball in midfield and fired in a shot which took a deflection off Albelda to wrong-foot the keeper.

The turning point came though a few minutes before the break, ex Valencia midfielder Rufete unlucky to be shown a second yellow card by referee Iturralde González when the ball hit him on the arm from close range in the middle of the pitch. The decision was hotly protested by the players, and Mané himself was sent to the stands after he complained to the referee as the players left the field at half time.

The visitors held on for another quarter of an hour before substitute Torrejón (making his first appearance of the season after a long injury lay-off) played a corner up in the air for Raúl Albiol to drive a low shot past Kameni. Emery himself brought on another player who had been out for some time, David Silva, and almost immediately he brought a good save out of Kameni.

The Chés now were on the attack, and Villa and Morientes both went close before Vicente picked up Villa's return pass and beat the keeper from a wide angle. It was enough to take the three points and leave Espanyol still down in the bottom three. An improvement though for the "Periquitos", and if they had played the full ninety minutes with eleven men we could be talking about a different result.