Real Madrid, Sevilla share third place in Spanish football league

January 5th, 2009 - 1:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Jan 5 (DPA) Real Madrid and Sevilla now share third place in the Spanish Liga.Real beat Villarreal 1-0 at home, and Sevilla were surprisingly held to a 1-1 draw by bottom team Osasuna Sunday.

These results leave both Real and Sevilla with 32 points from 17 games, one point less than second-placed Valencia, who beat Atletico Madrid 3-1 Saturday, and 12 less than record-breaking Barcelona, 3-1 winners over Mallorca.

Real and Sevilla are two points ahead of Atletico and Deportivo Coruna, and three ahead of Villarreal, who fall down to seventh after the defeat in Madrid.

After Jesus Navas had given Sevilla a 50th-minute lead with a fierce drive, they seemed poised to reclaim second place by beating Osasuna.

But veteran Osasuna striker Walter Pandiani silenced the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan by equalising in the 91st minute, turning in a cross from Iranian Masoud Shojael.

“We deserved to get at least one point tonight,” said Pandiani, “because we never gave up trying.”

Osasuna remain bottom with 13 points, but now with a little more hope of surviving.

Real beat Villarreal thanks to a handsome goal from Arjen Robben - and thanks to some sharp saves from Iker Casillas.

New signings Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Lassana Diarra made discreet debuts for Real.

The only goal came in the 31st minute, when Robben let fly with his trusty left foot from just outside the box, leaving Villarreal keeper Diego Lopez with no chance.

Robben was the liveliest forward for sluggish Real, who seemed more interested in defending than attacking. They enjoyed only 44 percent possession, finished the game with a 5-4-1 formation - and left the field to a mixture of jeers and cheers.

Joseba Llorente, Guiseppe Rossi and Sebastian Eguren all wasted good late chances for Villarreal, who showed a certain naivete in attack.

“We didn’t play really well this evening,” said Real captain Raul, “but the important thing is the three points.”

In Sunday’s late game, Deportivo Coruna won 2-1 away to Getafe and moved up to joint fifth, level on 30 points with Atletico Madrid.

At the other end of the table, Mallorca and Espanyol are now just one point above Osasuna.

In Sunday’s other early games, Malaga beat Sporting 1-0 and Racing Santander won 1-0 in Valladolid. Espanyol battled out a 1-1 draw in Bilbao while Recreativo Huelva moved up to fourth from bottom, on 16 points, with a 3-1 defeat of Numancia, who are on 17.

Then come Betis on 18 and Almeria on 19. Hugo Sanchez enjoyed a winning debut on the Almeria bench with a 1-0 defeat of Betis, courtesy a goal from Miguel Corona.

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