Fantasy Football Update
Saturday 7 April 2001
Rayo Vallecano 1 Valencia CF 4
Teresa Rivero stadium, Madrid
VALENCIA CF: Cañizares, Pellegrino (Djukic 88), Ayala, Carboni, Angloma, Mendieta, Angulo, Baraja, Carew (Martín Diego Alonso 74), Juan Sánchez, Kily González (Vicente 63)
Goals: 0-1 Ayala (43), 0-2 Kily González (49), 0-3 Vicente (73), 1-3 Luis Cembranos (77), 1-4 Juan Sanchez (85)
Valencia CF halted a poor run of form at the weekend with a 4-1 victory over Rayo Vallecano at the Teresa Rivero stadium, Madrid. Goals from Kily González, Vicente Rodríguez, Juan Sánchez and Roberto Fabian Ayala earned the valuable three points to keep Valencia in the title hunt.
Scrappy opening period
The visitors went into the game on the back of three successive defeats and they started nervously. Rayo had a handful of good chances, but it was Valencia who took the lead and stamped their authority on the game. Ayala headed home past Vallecano 'keeper Kasey Keller at the end of a scrappy opening period to settle his side's nerves and fellow Argentine Kily González added a second four minutes after the break with a fine left-foot strike.
Vicente then put Valencia further ahead in the 73rd minute, smashing home a first-time shot from the edge of the area. Luis Cembranos pulled one back for Rayo, but Juan Sanchez underlined Valencia's superiority with a neat finish five minutes from time.
The game saw Gaizka Mendieta returning to his best form at the heart of the Valencia midfield. Recent domestic defeats against RCD Espanyol and RC Celta de Vigo, teamed with a 2-1 reverse at the hands of Arsenal FC in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg, left Valencia in a precarious position. But with Mendieta becoming an increasingly influential figure, the victory over Vallecano looks to have put his side's season back on track.
Despite the margin of this victory, Valencia head coach Héctor Cúper knows his side must improve if they are to overturn Arsenal in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals. Pablo Aimar was rested, allowing Miguel Angulo to take his place in midfield, while Miroslav Djukic returned to first-team action as a late subtitute for Mauricio Pellegrino.