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Real Madrid draws 0-0 with Gijon in Spanish league

REAL Madrid failed to bounce back from its midweek loss to AC Milan in drawing with Sporting Gijon 0-0 in the Spanish league yesterday, while nine-man Mallorca held Atletico Madrid to 1-1.

Also, Sevilla drew 0-0 against Espanyol, which played most of the second half with 10 men.

Missing Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema and Ruud van Nistelrooy in attack, Madrid was stifled by Gijon in the first half and, although it improved after the break, still struggled to create more than a handful of chances in wet conditions.

"Wednesday was a big blow to us," said Jose Maria "Guti" Gutierrez, referring to the 3-2 home defeat to Milan in the Champions League. "We're without some big players at the moment who score goals."

Madrid's Kaka went close in the 68th minute from a free kick, but goalkeeper Juan Pablo Colinas made a one-handed save with the ball heading into the bottom corner.

A neat passing move in the 78th gave Madrid's Xabi Alonso a long-range shot, but the Spain midfielder blasted over the bar.

Borja Valero scored an injury-time equalizer for Mallorca against Atletico Madrid, which was playing its first game since coach Abel Resino was fired.

Diego Forlan scored a 52nd-minute penalty to give Atletico a 1-0 lead after Mallorca's Ivan Ramis was sent off for a second yellow card for handball in the area.

Mallorca also had Josemi Gonzalez dismissed for handball in the area in the 27th, but Forlan blasted that spot kick wide.

One minute into injury time, De Gea tried to clear Valero's shot but instead let the ball slip into his net.

Madrid is at the top of the standings on 19 points with Barcelona, which has the chance to go clear when it plays Zaragoza on Sunday. Sevilla is third on 16, and Deportivo La Coruna is next with 15. Mallorca has 14, two more than Gijon and Espanyol. Atletico has seven.

Caretaker coach Santi Denia was in the dugout for Atletico. The club fired Resino on Friday after winning only one of the past 10 games to be last in its Champions League group and struggling in the Spanish league.

Atletico hired Quique Sanchez Flores as Resino's replacement and he's expected to be officially presented next week.

"Atletico has a great squad and I swear on my children that (Sanchez Flores) will find the right way to make sure that it performs to its potential," Denia said.

Sevilla went into the game against Espanyol on the back of a 3-1 win against Stuttgart midweek in the Champions League and hoping to keep in touch with leaders Real Madrid and Barcelona.

In an open first half both teams had chances although Sevilla enjoyed more possession and looked a constant threat.

Diego Perotti and Jesus Navas in particular hurt Espanyol with their runs down the wings. Carlos Kameni had to pull off a spectacular save in the 23rd from a Perotti free kick and the winger tested Espanyol's 'keeper again shortly before halftime with a stinging shot.

After Espanyol's Nicolas Pareja was sent off for a brutal challenge on Diego Capel on the hour Sevilla looked even more dominant but could not find the net as Kameni pulled off several more crucial saves.

Also today, it's: Valladolid vs. Deportivo La Coruna; Getafe vs. Athletic Bilbao; Racing Santander vs. Osasuna; Tenerife vs. Xerez; Villarreal vs. Malaga and Almeria vs. Valencia.


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