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Atletico Madrid and Valencia finish in deadlock
Published : 05 Feb 2012 23:16:44Rss feed
Atletico Madrid and third placed Valencia played out a 0-0 draw in a freezing Vicente Calderon stadium in the Spanish capital on Sunday night.
A win would have put Atletico as high as fourth and into a Champions League position, but they can take great encouragement from their display after they bossed a Valencia side with one eye on their Spanish Cup semi-final second leg against Barcelona on Wednesday.
Atletico have improved tremendously and are yet to concede a goal since Diego Simeone took over as coach at Christmas, winning three and drawing two games in that time and stay seventh, seven points behind Valencia.
Adrian Lopez had the first chance for Atletico on eight minutes forcing a save from Diego Alves in the Valencia goal with a header from a Juanfran cross.
Pablo Piatti tested Thibaut Courtois, on loan from Chelsea in the Atletico goal, with a long range shot and then Radamel Falcao headed over at the other end after good work from Adrian.
Atletico continued to create the best chances with Gabriel Fernandez volleying wide a minute into the second period and Falcao having a shot blocked on the line by Adil Rami on 65 minutes.
Jordi Alba had Valencia's best chance when he shot just wide on 74 minutes and Diego Alves saved 'Los Che' again on 80 minutes when he turned a Diego Ribes shot out for a corner.
Falcao had the last attempt to grab the three points Atletico perhaps deserved but steered a header wide in the last minute.
Earlier on Sunday Javi Camunas grabbed the winner to give Villarreal a 2-1 win at Sevilla that keeps his side out of the relegation zone at the bottom of La Liga.
Sevilla have now gone seven games without a win and remain in the bottom half of the table only four points above the drop zone with pressure mounting on coach Marcelino Garcia.
Both clubs have under achieved this season and find themselves further down the league than they would expect but they served up an exciting encounter full of attacking football.
Former Real Madrid and West Brom midfielder Borja Valero opened for Villarreal on 22 minutes when he met an Angel Lopez cross in the area with a clever left footed volley to guide the ball home.
Sevilla were quick to react and when Jesus Navas hit a low cross into the area 12 minutes later all defender Bruno Soriano could do was turn the ball into his own net for the equaliser.
In the second half the match switched from end to end with both teams failing to take chances to go ahead.
Argentine centre-half Mateo Musscahio hit the post for Villarreal on the hour mark after a penetrating run from Cani and Alvaro Negredo had a close range header well saved by Diego Lopez in the Villarreal goal on 71 minutes.
A Navas shot on 78 minutes brought another save from Lopez before Camunas hit the winner three minutes later to keeps his side one point above the drop zone.
Rayo Vallecano came from behind to win 2-1 away at bottom club Zaragoza who remain rooted to the bottom, now 10 points from safety.
Portuguese striker Helder Postiga gave the home side a first-half lead with a spectacular volley from an Apono cross, but Rayo fought back to even the game with a Diego Costa goal.
Midfielder Michu's 10th goal of the season, after a quick counter-attack and pass from Juan Manuel Casado, wrapped the game up for the side from Madrid with nine minutes remaining to lift Rayo into 12th position.
Seven points above Zaragoza are Sporting Gijon who drew 1-1 at home to Osasuna, a result that leaves them second from bottom and three points from safety.
Carmelo Gonzalez put Sporting ahead in the first-half but a cushioned header by Dejan Lekic, perfectly meeting a Marc Beltran cross on 77 minutes, earned the visitors a draw.
The result means Osasuna drop to ninth position, but with 28 points they are only four behind fourth placed Levante and a potential Champions League position next season.
On Saturday Real Madrid won 1-0 away at Getafe with a Sergio Ramos header to stay seven points above Barcelona who also won 2-1 at home to Real Sociedad thanks to goals from Cristian Tello and Lionel Messi.