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Valencia seize their chance

Published: Sunday 30 November 2003, 22.16CET
Valencia CF returned to the top after Real Madrid CF and RC Deportivo La Coruña both slipped up. features

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Published: Sunday 30 November 2003, 22.16CET

Valencia seize their chance

Valencia CF returned to the top after Real Madrid CF and RC Deportivo La Coruña both slipped up.

Valencia CF returned to the top of the Primera División at the weekend after holding on to defeat Real Zaragoza 3-2 at the Mestalla.

Maximum points
Rafael Benítez's side collected all three goals in the first half against Zaragoza but almost wasted the chance to gain a slender advantage over their rivals after the interval, when they conceded twice. Valencia nevertheless kept together defensively in the last ten minutes to secure maximum points.

Comeback not enough
Jorge López opened the scoring in the 19th minute with a left-foot strike, then Vicente Rodríguez doubled the lead by combining with the impressive Pablo Aimar, who collected the third on the cusp of half-time. Valencia, however, relaxed in the second half and almost paid the price as David Vílla pulled one back in the 49th minute and Rubén Cani was on target late on.

Late strike
Real Madrid CF were held to a 1-1 draw by CA Osasuna at El Sadar. They were indebted to a late strike from Ronaldo, who broke clear following David Beckham's pass and tucked the ball away in the 74th minute for his tenth league goal of the season. The home team dominated for long periods and Ivory Coast striker Ibrahim Bakayoko put them ahead when individual skill on the edge of the box gave him room to strike.

Late winner
Meanwhile, ten-man RC Deportivo La Coruña were undone by a winner at the death in their game against Villarreal CF. Rodolfo Arruabarrena set up midfield player Roger García to slot in an angled shot with only two minutes remaining. Mauro Silva's first-half dismissal did little to help Javier Irureta's men.

A win at last
RC Celta de Vigo claimed their first victory in five games after a goal from Jesuli earned them a 1-0 away win over Sevilla FC. The midfield player scored from the edge of the area after striker Catanha headed the ball back into his path. Despite the win, Celta remain just two points above the relegation zone as fellow strugglers Albacete Balompié overcame RCD Espanyol 2-1 at the Carlos Belmonte stadium courtesy of two goals from Carlos Aranda.

Revival continues
RCD Mallorca continued their revival under coach Luis Aragonés. A double from Alejandro Campano gave them a 2-1 victory against Real Betis Balompié. The midfield player guided in a stylish volley at the far post midway through the first half, then secured the points when he fired a shot into the far corner seven minutes from time.

Nikolaidis decider
Club Atlético de Madrid comfortably overcame struggling Málaga CF 2-0 on Saturday. Gonzalo de los Santos struck in the sixth minute with a spectacular shot from the edge of the box and Demis Nikolaidis made the points safe with just under 20 minutes to go.

Other games
In the weekend's other games, Athletic Club Bilbao suffered a 2-1 reverse at the hands of Real Racing Club Santander, going down to efforts from Rodolfo Bodipo and Mario Regueiro despite taking the lead through Jonan García. A Ronaldinho-less FC Barcelona were held to a scoreless draw at home by Real Valladolid while Real Murcia CF came from behind to draw 2-2 with Real Sociedad de Fútbol.

Last updated: 01/12/03 10.06CET


Spanish Liga 2003/04

Last updated: 04/07/2011 05:15 CET



Soldado 26, 63

Ulloa 90

Venue: Valencia



Gurpegi 90+2

Venue: Bilbao



Webó 50, Gonzalo Castro 55

Venue: Palma de Mallorca


Sporting GijónSporting Gijón1-3Real SociedadReal Sociedad

Gregory 3

Xabier Prieto 11, Zurutuza 45+1, Aranburu 90+3

Venue: Gijon



Rosenberg 61

Venue: Santander



Trezeguet 62, Valdez 40, 67

Rubén Suárez 41

Venue: Alicante



Tiago 45+2, Agüero 66

Luis García 22 (p), Verdú 53, Osvaldo 78

Venue: Madrid



Kanouté 30

Manu 57 (p), Miku 59, Ríos 77

Venue: Sevilla



Senna 9, Santi Cazorla 18, Nilmar 65

Venue: Zaragoza


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