November 20, 2010 by staff
Almeria Barcelona, (AFP) – Italian international striker Giuseppe Rossi scored his eighth league goal of the campaign to rescue a point for Villarreal in a 1-1 home draw with local rivals Valencia on Saturday.
Villarreal saw their 100 percent home record at El Madrigal come to an end, however, Rossi’s 73rd minute volley salvaged a point and Villarreal stay three points ahead of Valencia in third, although they are five points behind leaders Real Madrid who also have a game in hand.
Aritz Aduriz had put Valencia into a 20th minute lead to give Valencia the initiative and the visitors frustrated the home side before Rossi produced a clinical volley to clinch a point.
Valencia had defender Marius Stankevicius sent off for a second booking on 80 minutes but held on for a point and now prepare for Wednesday’s Champions League home match with Bursaspor.
Villarreal had won all five of their home matches in the league prior to the Valencia match but suffered a 20th minute setback when Aduriz put Valencia ahead.
Dutch midfielder Hedwiges Maduro launched a counter attack with a great pass to release Joaquin down the right.
Joaquin centred and Aduriz’s shot was deflected in by Argentine centre-back Gonzalo Castro as Villarreal conceded only their second goal at home in the league.
Valencia defender Ricardo Costa should have made it 2-0 on the half hour when he arrived unmarked at a free-kick but his header went disappointingly wide.
Villarreal picked up their game in the second half and Rossi produced a fine cushioned volley to convert Bruno Grau’s cross on 73 minutes and Brazilian international Nilmar could have won it for the hosts late on.
Later on Saturday Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona are both in action in their final fixtures before the eagerly-anticipated ‘El Clasico’ at Camp Nou on November 29.
Unbeaten leaders Real Madrid are one point ahead of champions Barcelona and hope to extend their perfect home record with victory over Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Bilbao lost 5-1 to Real at the Bernabeu last season but will hope in-form Spanish international forward Fernando Llorente can build on his eight goals in the league.
“I think Athletic Bilbao are a very good team and I have faced (Fernando) Llorente a number of times and he is difficult to stop,” said Real defender Marcelo. “However, our defence is very good and we are not conceding many goals.”
Under Jose Mourinho Real have the meanest defence in the league conceding five goals in their 11 league games.
Barcelona are also in action on Saturday travelling South to Almeria targeting a sixth straight league win to stay on Madrid’s heels for the Clasico.
“Almeria is the most important game for us and it isn’t difficult to switch off from the Clasico,” said Barcelona’s Spanish World Cup star Andres Iniesta. “It is our duty to focus on the next match.”
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