Third-placed Valencia held by Mallorca

11 March 2012 05:16

Champions League chasing Valencia continued to stutter as they squandered a two-goal lead Sunday to draw 2-2 at home to Mallorca.

Valencia have now won just once in four games in the league and it is particularly their home form since Christmas which is the cause for concern as they look to maintain their third place, although they still have a four-point lead over Malaga, who beat Levante on Saturday.

They dominated the first half with Tino Costa's deflected shot giving them the lead after 23 minutes and then they doubled it three minutes before the break when Mallorca keeper Dudu Aouate made a hash of clearing a backpass, playing the ball to Aritz Aduriz, who slotted the ball home.

Mallorca had offered very little but got back into the game after 57 minutes when Emilio Nsue converted a through ball from Michael Pereira and then Victor Casadesus completed the turnaround minutes later.

Valencia were unable to respond amid whistles from the home fans and finished with ten men after Costa was dismissed for a two-footed challenge.

Later, Barcelona were up against Racing Santander as they continue their pursuit of Real Madrid, who opened up a 13-point lead at the top of the table with a 3-2 victory over Real Betis on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real celebrated Jose Mourinho's 100th match in charge with their 11th victory in succession.

It is away from home that Barca have struggled this season and now take on a Racing side, third from bottom and battling for their survival, looking for only their sixth win on their travels this season.

An ugly war of words has raged between Mourinho and Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola over complaints about refereeing decisions.

Guardiola hit back at the suggestion from the Portuguese that he was two-faced and that both were guilty of attacking officials.

"We are in the same situation in that we both want to win but if we appear similar then I have done something wrong. I would never want to put myself on his level. There are images and words which are worth millions. We both want to win but we are different," said Guardiola.

Source: AFP