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Euro-chasing Valencia beaten by nine-man Zaragoza
Published : 21 Mar 2012 21:53:53Rss feed
Third-placed Valencia slumped to a 2-1 home defeat to Zaragoza on Wednesday with the rock-bottom club taking the three points despite finishing with only nine players.
Pablo Hernandez put Valencia ahead, but two goals from Antonio Galdeano 'Apono' -- the first from the penalty spot and the second from distance -- gave Zaragoza some hope of escaping relegation.
The victory was deserved for a Zaragoza team who had Pablo Alvarez sent off on 20 minutes for a foul on Aritz Aduriz when he was the last defender.
Franco Zuculini received his marching orders with three minutes remaining for a second yellow card leaving Zaragoza to defend frantically in the final minutes.
The result means Zaragoza have now lost only once in four games and are finally within touching distance of the rest of their struggling rivals after a number of weeks adrift, only two points behind Sporting Gijon and Racing Santander.
Levante battled back from a goal down to beat Real Sociedad 3-1 and move just three points behind Valencia.
Carlos Vela put Sociedad ahead after just five minutes, but Jose Barkero replied almost immediately from the penalty spot against his former club when Inigo Martinez tripped Morroccan Nabil El Zhar.
Levante were the better team from that moment and Arouna Kone powered home a right footed shot just before the interval to give his side the lead.
Real Sociedad had midfielder Gorka Elustondo sent off on 57 minutes for a second yellow card and Xavi Torres stabbed home from close range in the last minute to wrap the game up.
Gijon lost 3-2 at home to Mallorca for who Alvaro Gimenez got the winner with 13 minutes remaining.
Colombian forward Radamel Falcao grabbed two goals for Atletico Madrid to beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 and improve their chances of European competition next season.
Javi Martinez grabbed a late consolation but the home side deserved the victory against a Bilbao side that has now lost three league games since they began their Europa League heroics against Manchester United.