Madrid, Jan 4 (IANS) Real Madrid suffered another blow at the Mestalla Stadium, drawing 2-2 against Valencia and are now placed third in La Liga standings; four points behind Atletico Madrid and two less than Barcelona, which has a match pending against Sporting Gijon.
Rafa Benitez-managed Real Madrid on Monday pulled ahead with a goal by French forward Karim Benzema following outstanding performances by fellow attackers Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, reports Efe.
Valencia managed to draw, thanks to a Dani Parejo penalty after a foul by Pepe on Andre Gomez before Real Madrid pulled ahead with a great header by Bale.
Real Madrid were left one man down with the Croatian Mateo Kovacic’s expulsion but Valencia failed to take advantage until a minute after Bale’s goal when Paco Alcacer beat Real Madrid’s keeper Keylor Navas to level the score to 2-2.
Meanwhile, an extra time penalty helped Villarreal beat Deportivo La Caruna 2-1 and move a point behind Real Madrid.
Villarreal now have a five-point lead over Celta de Vigo, who are placed fifth in the standings.
Jose Ramon Sandoval’s Sevilla side , which had gone five games without a loss, was beaten by Granada 2-1 in a game that saw them squandering the first 45 minutes.
Nigerian Isaac Success and Venezuelan Adalberto Peñaranda led the attack for Granada to take it to a 2-0 lead.
Although Victor Machin ‘Vitolo’ equaled just before half-time, Granada upped the pressure in the second half on Unai Emery’s men, who have not won a single away match this season, to secure its win.
Athletic Bilbao sealed a 2-2 tie against Las Palmas in San Mames in a vibrant match with goals by Aritz Aduriz and Iñaki Williams for Athletic and by Vicente Gomez and Tana Dominguez for Las Palmas.
Eibar added another win to an already magnificent season, and with their resounding 4-0 victory against Betis in Sevilla, moved a point behind Athletic Bilbao, in the seventh place, with the same points as Deportivo.
Capa and Keko Gontan opened the scoring for Eibar and Adrian Gonzalez and Borja Baston added to it to seal an impressive win against a disoriented Real Betis.
In the morning matches between the teams at the bottom of the table, Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad came to a 2-2 tie.
Rayo’s goals were scored by Diego Llorente and Jozabed Sanchez while Gorka Elustondo and Bruma equalised for Sociedad.
Rayo remain second last, two points behind Sociedad, Getafe, Las Palmas and Granada, while Sporting, who will meet Getafe on Monday, are placed third from the bottom, together with Rayo.