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Depor rallies to hold Valencia after Villa sent off

DAVID Villa scored and was later sent off as Valencia was held to a 1-1 draw away to Deportivo Coruna in the Spanish Primera Liga on Sunday.

Both sides have struggled for form of late and it was perhaps indicative that Villa's goal came from an error in the 25th minute.

The Spain striker intercepted Julian de Guzman's long pass back to his keeper to net his 19th goal of the campaign before picking up a second yellow card 14 minutes from time.

Depor made immediate use of the extra man when Piscu headed in to deny Valencia a return to the Champions League, leaving it in fifth with 39 points.

Leader Barcelona, which was beaten 1-2 at home by Espanyol on Saturday has 60 points with 14 games left. Its lead over second-placed Real Madrid has been cut down to seven points. Madrid hammered Real Betis 6-1 at home.

Sevilla is third with 44 points after it beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 at home, and it is three ahead of Villarreal, which beat Sporting Gijon 2-1 also on Saturday.

Earlier on Sunday, Malaga moved up to sixth with 39 points, behind Valencia on goal difference, with a 3-1 victory at Real Valladolid.

Albert Luque put the promoted side ahead early on and Apono buried a penalty in the 29th minute after Eliseu flung himself to the ground.

Valladolid put it under pressure after the break hitting the woodwork twice and a Pedro Oldoni header briefly threatened a fightback, before Nacho made it 3-1 near the end.

"We have made it to the UEFA Cup places playing well, with the backing of the fans, and enjoying ourselves. It's the fruit of our own hard work," Malaga coach Antonio Tapia said.

Atletico is seventh with 36 points, ahead of Depor on goal difference.


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