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Football
Canales inspires Valencia win
Valencia move to the top of Spain's Primera Division with a 1-0 home defeat of lowly Granada.
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2011 21:22
Valencia now have 13 points from six games [EPA]

An early strike from Sergio Canales gave Valencia a 1-0 victory over Granada and top spot in Spain's Primera Division on Saturday, the club's first win in three matches.

Valencia returned to winning ways after a draw against Barcelona and defeat by Sevilla and they lead the way at the top of the table on 13 points with Barcelona and Real Madrid both in action on Sunday.

Canales gave Valencia the perfect start with an angled strike from the edge of the area after just three minutes.

Valencia piled on the pressure early on with keeper Roberto Fernandez saving Granada on several occasions notably from Roberto Soldado and Ever Banega but the visitors gradually came into the game with Daniel Benitez their main danger.

In the second half Roberto continued to be the busier keeper but his opposite number Vicente Guaita also got down to save well from Hassan Yebda and then minutes later Inigo Lopez hit the post.

Villarreal draw

Earlier on Saturday, substitute Hernan Perez snatched a late equaliser for Villarreal whose poor start to the season continued with a 2-2 draw at home to Zaragoza.

Considered by many as the only team capable of pushing Barcelona and Real Madrid in the league they have struggled so far with only one victory in all competitions.

Coming into the game on the back of a 2-0 Champions League defeat by Napoli, Villarreal began the stronger but Luis Garcia gave Zaragoza the lead against the run of play.

Giuseppe Rossi brought Villarreal back on level terms from the penalty spot but the visitors went into the break ahead with Pablo Barrera scoring from another counter-attack.

In an open game Villarreal earned a point through Perez nine minutes from the end.

Two penalties from Tomer Hemed gave Mallorca a 2-2 draw away to Osasuna.

Miguel Angel Nadal took charge of the team following Michael Laudrup's resignation in midweek and Hemed put Mallorca in front with a spot kick but Raul Garcia responded with two headed goals for Osasuna.

With 10 minutes to go Hemed kept his cool again from 12 yards to give Mallorca a point.
 
Racing Santander drew 1-1 with Rayo Vallecano with Raul Tamudo scoring for the side from Madrid before Adrian Gonzalez equalised on the hour mark.

Searching for victory

Results & fixtures

Saturday October 1

 Osasuna 2-2 Mallorca
 Racing 1-1 Vallecano
 Villarreal 2-2 Zaragoza
 Valencia 1-0 Granada
 Malaga 3-2 Getafe

Sunday October 2

 Sociedad v Bilbao
 Betis v Levante
 Atletico  v Sevilla
 Gijon v Barcelona
 Espanyol v Real Madrid

On Sunday, Barcelona travel to bottom of the table Sporting Gijon still looking for their first away win of the season in the Primera Division after draws against Real Sociedad and Valencia.

"To win the title you need to win a lot of matches away from home. We are now faced with another very difficult game and it is down to us to break this poor run," said Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

"We always find it difficult to beat them (Sporting) and analysing it, it is because they defend very well and pack their penalty area.

"I think that this will be a close game which will be decided by small details and so we will have to work hard and use our heads."

While Barca have suffered injuries to important players like Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas they have benefitted from Lionel Messi's rich vein of form which saw him score a hat-trick last weekend and then two more in the Champions League against BATE Borisov to become Barcelona's joint second highest scorer alongside Lazslo Kubala on 194 goals.

Real responded after picking up just one point from two games with a 6-2 win over Rayo Vallecano and then beat Ajax 3-0 in the Champions League.

They travel to Espanyol with Kaka restored to the starting eleven after a long battle with injury and loss of form.

"I feel a debt to the club for always having stood by me, it would have been easier to leave but I never considered that. I have the dream of triumphing at Madrid and I want to achieve it," said the Brazilian.

"The results mean the atmosphere could be better in the dressing room but we are all united."

Source:
AFP
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