Vol. 5 Num 630 Tue. March 07, 2006  

Primera Liga
Valencia slip up

Valencia missed the chance to reclaim second spot in the Primera Liga when they were surprisingly held 0-0 by basement side Malaga on Sunday.

Malaga, who had lost three of their four games since Manuel Hierro took charge as coach last month, produced a gritty defensive display to keep Valencia at bay.

The result means Valencia remain in third place, level on 51 points with Real Madrid who put a week of turmoil behind them with a gutsy 2-1 victory at home to Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Valencia's slip-up allowed reigning champions Barcelona to extend their advantage at the top of the table to 10 points following their 3-2 win at home to Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

Valencia host Real Madrid at the Mestalla next weekend while Barcelona face a tricky away trip to Osasuna.

Osasuna dropped off the pace and are now five points adrift of Real and Valencia in fourth place in the table after their 2-0 loss at Celta Vigo who are now hot on their heels in the race for the Champions League places.

Brazilian striker Fernando Baiano gave the Galicians an early lead when he fired a curling shot inside the far post from the edge of the area and midfielder Fabian Canobbio added a second 19 minutes from time with a virtuoso solo goal.

The Uruguayan gathered the ball after pushing it past two defenders, rounded the keeper and then slotted it home.

Osasuna's hopes of staging a fightback were extinguished when they were reduced to 10 men a few minutes later, midfielder Inaki Munoz pushing an opponent as they argued over a foul.

Sevilla consolidated sixth place with a 2-1 win at home to struggling Athletic Bilbao despite being reduced to 10 men when Serbian defender Ivica Dragutinovic was sent off late in the first half.

Defeat pushed Javier Clemente's side back into the relegation zone and left them facing an uphill struggle as they bid to avoid dropping out of the top flight for the first time in their history.