|Valencia were still licking their wounds after their midweek defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League [EPA]|
Roberto Soldado’s late goal salvaged a 1-1 draw for Valencia against Athletic Bilbao, while Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 with Mallorca on Sunday in Spain’s Primera Division.
After an evenly matched first half with both teams hitting the post, Iker Muniain scored Bilbao’s 72nd-minute opener when he deftly dribbled across the edge of the area before shooting powerfully into the right corner of the net.
Bilbao appeared set to record their third straight league win before Soldado reached Ever Banega’s pass, beat goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz with one touch and rolled home the equaliser in the 89th for his sixth goal of the season.
The game saw Valencia midfielder Sergio Canales and Bilbao veteran Carlos Gurpegi both helped off the pitch with leg injuries.
In Madrid, visitors Mallorca went ahead two minutes in through Israel striker Tomer Hemed’s fourth spot kick in the last three matches.
Radamel Falcao pulled Atletico even at Vicente Calderon stadium with a penalty of his own in the 42nd after he was fouled in the area to break a three-game scoring drought for his team in league play.
“It wasn’t in our plans to draw today,” said Atletico coach Gregorio Manzano, whose team extended their winless streak to four games in league play.
“It was a tough game for us. We were facing a well-organised defence that left us very few spaces.”
It was Mallorca’s second consecutive draw since coach Joaquin Caparros took over following the stormy departure of Michael Laudrup.
In other results, Osasuna beat Zaragoza 3-0, Rayo Vallecano scored twice late to down Real Betis 2-0 and Getafe drew 0-0 at Real Sociedad.
Sunday October 23
Osasuna needed half an hour to decide the contest at Reyno de Navarra stadium.
Raul Garcia set Osasuna on their way to their first win in six games in the 18th before flicking on a throw-in for Juan “Nino” Martinez to finish off in nine minutes later.
Iran midfielder Javad Nekounam put the victory beyond doubt in the 30th when he headed in Nino’s cross.
In Sevilla, Betis failed to convert a number of scoring chances, and Rayo’s Lass Bangoura capped his strong performance in the 80th minute when he coolly chipped Betis goalkeeper Casto Barriga.
“Lass is a player who is giving his all for this team and adapting very well,” said Rayo coach Jose Sandoval about the 19-year-old Guinean winger.
Sergio Contreras then sealed Betis’ fourth straight loss in the 88th from the penalty spot.
Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw by Sevilla on Saturday, letting Madrid provisionally take a one-point lead atop the table after Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick in their 4-0 win at big-spending Malaga.
Sporting Gijon also beat Granada 2-0 for their first win of the season, while Sergio Garcia’s second-half goal dropped winless Racing Santander into last place as Espanyol won 1-0 for their second straight away victory.