La Liga Round-Up
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Two goals by Vicente were the difference in the end but Santiago Canizares had to produce an injury-time penalty save to hand the home side all three points.
Valencia were better side in the first half and deservedly took the lead just after the quarter hour mark when Bilbao's Aitor Karanka gave away possession in his own end.
The loose ball was crossed back in from the right to an unmarked Vicente, who struck home left footed past Bilbao goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia for 1-0.
However, the Basque visitors started the second half well and it was Santiago Ezquerro who equalised after the ball broke to him in the box following Joseba Etxeberria's initial break to make it 1-1.
The match then became an open affair with chances at both ends but Vicente got his second and Valencia's winner when Pablo Aimar's initial shot was saved by Aranzubia but only the rebound to come back to the Argentine star and he set his team-mate up to strike home for 2-1.
The match then took dramatic twist in the dying stages, with Valencia initially handed the chance to score a third goal after Vicente was dubiously tumbled over in a challenge from Bilbao's Jesus Maria Lacruz, who received a second yellow card and a sending off for his indiscretion.
However, Aranzubia produced a brilliant save from substitute Francisco Rufete's spot kick to keep the visitors in the match, as Bilbao went down the other end to earn a penalty of their own in injury time.
Substitute Ismael Urzaiz went down under a challenge from Mauricio Pellegrino for the penalty, despite referee Arturo Dauden Ibanez sending off Roberto Ayala for a second bookable offence by mistake.
But with Bilbao seemingly likely to get a draw, Urzaiz's spot kick was stopped brilliantly by Canizares, as Valencia held on for an important victory.
Atletico Madrid put their recent derby defeat at the hands of Real behind them with a comfortable 2-0 home win over basement boys Espanyol on Sunday.
The triumph moves Gregorio Manzano's men up to fifth in La Liga, and star striker Fernando Torres was once again the hero.
The young Spanish international notched in each half to take his season's tally to nine, and condemn their Catalan opponents to yet another league defeat.
Mallorca recorded their fifth league win on the bounce with a slender 1-0 home triumph over Real Valladolid.
The Islanders climbed into sixth spot courtesy of Uruguayan striker Fernando Correa's 15th minute strike, and maintained their superb recent form.
Sevilla moved up to seventh place after staging a stirring comeback to see off plucky Zaragoza at El Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan.
The hosts found themselves two down shortly before the half hour mark when David Villa struck his fifth goal of the season from the penalty spot to add to David Castido's earlier own-goal.
However, Uruguayan Inti Podesta dragged Sevilla back into it after 32 minutes and the hosts smelt blood when Zaragoza's David Generelo got his marching orders on the stroke of half-time.
They made their numerical advantage count almost immediately after the restart when Podesta grabbed his second, and Sevilla clinched a dramatic victory when rising star Antonito struck with twenty minutes remaining.
There was still time for Podesta to turn from hero to villain when he received his second yellow card on 83 minutes, but Joaquin Caparros' men held out for a memorable win.
Villarreal grabbed a last-gasp leveller to deny Real Murcia a precious home victory.
The strugglers seemed all set for just their second win of the season, as they led going into the closing stages through David Karanka's 12th minute strike.
However, Xisco's spared Villarreal's blushes with an injury-time equaliser - much to the dismay of the home crowd.
Albacete eased away from the bottom of the table with an emphatic 4-0 home win over ten-man Racing Santander.
Carlos Aranda put the hosts ahead from the penalty spot four minutes before the break, but it was Medhi Nafti's sending-off just a minute later that really changed the game.
Antonio Pacheco notched a second just before the hour mark, and when Ludovic Delporte claimed his first of the season with 17 minutes remaining, the visitors were dead and buried.
An own-goal two minutes from time added extra gloss to the scoreline, as Albacete enjoyed their biggest win since returning to the top-flight.
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