Villarreal held by Espanyol, still in danger

April 24th, 2012

Europe News

Madrid – Villarreal are still in trouble in the Spanish Liga after being held 0-0 at home by Espanyol on Sunday.

Villarreal dominated from start to finish but lacked the craft and speed to break down a solid Espanyol defence. The hosts had a goal correctly disallowed for offside by Ruben Marco, 15 minutes from time.

The draw left Villarreal – who reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League three years ago – fourth from bottom, just four points above Zaragoza and seven above Racing Santander and Sporting Gijon, who share bottom place.

Sunday’s other late game saw Real Sociedad thrash Rayo Vallecano 4-0, with goals from Imanol Agirretxe, David Zurutuza, Antoine Griezmann and Carlos Vela.

Earlier on Sunday, Valencia’s poor form continued with a 1-1 draw at home to crosstown rivals Levante.

Brazilian striker Jonas shot Valencia ahead in the 35th minute after an exquisite move between Aritz Aduriz and Sophiane Feghouli.

but seven minutes into the second half, Arouna Kone made it 1-1 after being set up by a clever header from Valdo, one of Levante’s many veterans.

Valencia were jeered off the field by their own fans, who have had to endure a patchy season. The disappointing draw has certainly sealed the fate of unpopular coach Unai Emery, who will leave in may.

A dejected Emery said: ‘This draw is a bad result, and we are not satisfied. … we had more possession and chances than them, but our finishing was poor.’

Emery’s team have won just once in their last four league games, and on Thursday lost 2-1 at AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League. They are still third in La Liga but are just one point ahead of fourth-place Malaga, who crashed 2-0 on Saturday at home to Betis.

in Sunday’s lunch-time game, Atletico Madrid kept alive their dream of snatching a European place by thrashing neighbours Getafe 3-0.

Argentine winger Eduardo Salvio gave Atletico the lead after 25 minutes by heading in a long centre from the right from Juanfran. Radamel Falcao had a goal disallowed. Brazilian playmaker Diego made it 2-0 by turning in centre from Falcao.

The Colombian made it 3-0 at 12 minutes from time after a clever move down the right between Juanfran and Koke.

The pleasant win took Atletico up to seventh and left them in good heart ahead of Thursday’s Europa League showdown at Hannover 96, whom they beat 2-1 in last week’s home leg.

Delighted Atletico coach Diego Simeone said: ‘I am pleased with the commitment shown by the players today. it didn’t look like we had played just three days ago. we didn’t look tired at all.’

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Villarreal held by Espanyol, still in danger

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