Tue, Oct 21, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Mista makes most of Espanyol outing to put Valencia on top

AP , MADRID

Striker Miguel Angel "Mista" Ferrer struck twice Sunday as Valencia crushed lowly Espanyol 4-0 and regained the leadership of the Spanish league.

Spanish international midfielders Ruben Baraja and Vicente Rodriguez also netted in an emphatic victory, which maintains Valencia's unbeaten record this season.

Valencia's defense also kept up its formidable form, having now gone eight league and UEFA Cup matches without conceding a goal.

In Sunday's other games: Athletic de Bilbao defeated Villarreal 2-0; Osasuna edged Murcia 2-1; Racing de Santander downed Malaga 4-2; Atletico de Madrid defeated Mallorca 2-1; and Zaragoza beat Valladolid 1-0. Sevilla was playing Real Betis in Sunday's final game.

After seven matches, Valencia has 19 points, one more than Deportivo de La Coruna. Real Madrid lies third with 16 points, while Osasuna has 14.

Valencia raced to a three-goal lead before the interval to add to the woes of a depleted Espanyol, which is missing seven players through injury and suspension, and has still not won this season.

Valencia took just eight minutes to get started, although it was with some good fortune.

Espanyol `keeper Toni Jimenez's clearance to the right of the goal rebounded off right back Marc Beltran and the ball fell to Mista, who clipped the ball into an empty net.

Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares made a good save from midfielder Angel Morales, but two goals in first-half injury time then ended Espanyol's comeback hopes.

Baraja slotted home after rounding Toni and moments later Mista slotted his second goal from Vicente's pinpoint pass across goal.

Valencia compounded Espanyol's misery with a fourth goal in the 79th minute.

Osasuna continued its surprise start to the season with a narrow win over a battling Murcia.

Ivory Coast striker Ibrahim Bakayoko netted his first goal for Osasuna in the 11th minute, with Murcia leveling seven minutes later through striker Luis Garcia.

After Murcia was reduced to nine men in the closing stages, Bakayoko struck for the winner with five minutes remaining.

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