Spanish La Liga Roundup, Dec. 20
Valencia wasted a chance to climb to third in the Spanish league
standings when it was held to a 0-0 draw at Deportivo La Coruna on
Sunday, while Tenerife drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid.
On the last day of games before the two-week winter break,
Valencia enjoyed more possession and created plenty of chances,
with David Villa a constant threat. However, the hosts looked
dangerous on the break and Adrian Lopez was put through in the
28th, drawing a fine save from Cesar Sanchez.
Lopez found some space again moments later although he lacked
support and sent a speculative shot over.
La Coruna’s Juan Carlos Valeron had the best opportunity of
the first half when he headed against the crossbar shortly before
the break during a spell of pressure by the home side.
Valencia increased its grip on the game in the second half
and looked like scoring several times although Sergio Gonzalez
should have put La Coruna ahead in the 63rd when he headed wide
from a free kick.
Valencia remains fourth on 29 points, one behind Sevilla.
Deportivo is on 27 points, in sixth, Atletico is 15th on 14 points
and Tenerife is 14th with a point more.
On Saturday, Real Madrid beat Zaragoza 6-0 to move to 37
points and only two behind leader Barcelona, which won the Club
World Cup in Abu Dhabi.
Juan Francisco “Nino” Martinez put Tenerife ahead in the
third minute in the Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez stadium, tapping in
unmarked from a free kick.
Jose Manuel Jurado equalized in the 22nd, from an assist by
Atletico’s defense looked vulnerable on set pieces, while its
attack was without in-form duo Sergio Aguero and Jose Antonio Reyes
because of injuries.
Both were sorely missed, as Atletico lacked finesse going
forward and lone striker Forlan was isolated from his midfield in
the first half.
On one of Atletico’s rare forays deep into Tenerife’s half,
Maxi Rodriguez blasted a wild shot wide after doing well to dribble
through the defense.
Tenerife’s Nino nearly scored again on the half hour, when he
dribbled into the area and sent a shot drifting across the
The hosts won a penalty just before halftime, when Alvaro
Dominguez was harshly adjudged to have handled in the area. Sergio
Asenjo guessed correctly and dived to his left to save Nino’s kick.
Forlan had several chances as the clock ticked down and timed
his run to perfection to take a long pass down the left from Jurado
although Jose Antonio Culebras dispossessed him.
The Uruguay striker was inches (centimeters) away from
securing a win in injury time when he nearly got a boot to Florent
“The result may not have been fair (on us), although the way
our players performed was completely satisfactory,” said Tenerife
coach Jose Luis Oltra.
Relegation-threatened Malaga upset Mallorca 2-1, while
Villarreal continued its recent progress up the standings by
beating Racing Santander 2-0. Espanyol beat Almeria 2-0 and
Valladolid defeated Sporting Gijon 2-1.
At La Rosaleda stadium Malaga’s Fernando Fernandez scored in
the 24th minute after goalkeeper Dudu Aouate failed to control a
Fernando Forestieri’s header in the 77th clinched a crucial
three points for Malaga after Julio Alvarez had equalized early in
the second half.
Mallorca is fifth on 27 points. Malaga stays in the
relegation zone on 12 points.
At El Madrigal stadium, Joseba Llorente put Villarreal ahead
in the 50th after a mix-up by the Santander defense. Giuseppe Rossi
scored the second in the 73rd.
Villarreal is ninth on 21 points and Santander 16th on 13