Sevilla joint second, Atletico fifth in Liga (Roundup)

December 15th, 2008 - 3:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Dec 15 (DPA) Sunday turned out to be a good day for Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, who moved up to joint second and fifth place respectively in the Spanish Liga, with home wins over Villarreal and Betis.Sevilla beat Villarreal 1-0, Atletico downed Betis 2-0.

These results leave Sevilla level on 30 points with Valencia, who beat lowly Espanyol 2-1 Saturday.

Sevilla and Valencia both have 30 points from 15 games, eight points less than runaway leaders Barcelona, who beat historic rivals Real Madrid 2-0 in the “Clasico” Saturday.

After losing in Seville, Villarreal fell down to fourth with 29 points. Then come Atletico on 27 and troubled Real, now sixth, on 26.

Sevilla were the beneficiaries of two crucial refereeing decisions against Villarreal. Just before half-time, Renato scored the only goal despite being offside when set up by Frederic Kanoute and Adriano.

And in the 54th minute Villarreal striker Joseba Llorente was harshly shown a second yellow card, leaving his team with 10 men.

Sevilla should have scored more goals in the second half, but were foiled by lively Villarreal keeper Diego Lopez.

“It was a hard game for us,” said Sevilla midfielder Aldo Duscher. “But we showed our quality and our strengths tonight, scoring an important win.”

Later Sunday, Atletico overcame Betis with goals from Argentine internationals Maxi Rodriguez and Sergio Aguero.

Maxi broke the deadlock in the 20th minute by taking a pass from Maniche on his chest and scoring with one of his trademark right-foot drives.

Betis came close to an equalizer several times in the second half. However, eight minutes from the end, a Simao counter-attack led to Diego Forlan setting up Aguero to calmly make it 2-0.

Remarkably, there were no away wins at all this weekend. Indeed, the only travelling team to avoid defeat was Racing Santander, who battled out a 1-1 draw in Almeria.

Sunday’s other early games had a strong significance for the bottom half of the table.

A late 1-0 defeat away to fellow strugglers Recreativo Huelva leaves hapless Osasuna four points adrift at the bottom.

The Pamplona side have won just one match since former Spain manager Jose Antonio Camacho took charge in October, and they now have just nine points from 15 games, three points less than second-from-bottom Huelva.

“We should really not have lost this evening,” said Osasuna midfielder Hector Font, who twice came close towards the end.

“Our plan was to get off the bottom by winning here in Huelva,” he revealed.

Instead, Osasuna squandered their chances and lost to a late goal from Adrian Colunga.

With just seven minutes left, he was set up down the left by Javi Guerrero,and the youngster broke the deadlock with a powerful left-foot drive.

The late win leaves Huelva level on 13 points with Mallorca - who crashed 4-1 away to Getafe - and Espanyol.

Fifth from bottom, on 14 points, are Numancia, who crashed 2-0 away to Malaga. Then come Almeria and Athletic Bilbao - who thrashed Sporting Gijon 3-0 - both on 16 points.

Sunday’s other early game was a 3-0 cruise for Valladolid at home to Deportivo Coruna, with handsome goals from Jonathan Sesma, Pedro Lopez and Pedro Leon.

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