Sunday 18 March 2018

Real's title bid wobbles with red cards at Villarreal

NINE-MAN Real Madrid suffered another Primera Division title wobble at El Madrigal as Marcos Senna struck an 83rd-minute equaliser to grab a 1-1 draw for struggling Villarreal.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring on 62 minutes for Jose Mourinho's men, who had seen their 11-match winning run in La Liga ended by a home draw with Malaga on Sunday.

But after Senna's leveller, the visitors imploded as Mourinho was sent from the dugout and Sergio Ramos and Mesut Ozil both red-carded as Madrid were forced to settle for limping six points clear of second-placed Barcelona.

Mourinho was dismissed for his reaction to the equaliser, Ramos for a second yellow and Ozil for apparent dissent all within three minutes.

Third-placed Valencia were stunned 2-1 at home by rock-bottom Real Zaragoza in a result made all the more remarkable by the fact the visitors were reduced to 10 men after 21 minutes with the sending-off of Pablo Alvarez.

Zaragoza already trailed to Pablo's ninth-minute opener at that stage, but Valencia's hopes of an easy night were shattered by a double from Apono on 30 and 78 minutes to win it.

The visitors finished the match with nine men following Franco Zuculini's late dismissal.

Valencia's loss allowed Levante to cut the gap to just three points in fourth with a 3-1 win at Real Sociedad.

Carlos Vela put Sociedad in front after six minutes, but Jose Barkero's 12th-minute penalty drew it level. Arouna Kone added a second on 45 and Xavi Torres completed Levante's win in injury time.

Atletico Madrid leapfrogged Athletic Bilbao into seventh place with a 2-1 home win. Falcao got both goals for Atletico, with Javi Martinez replying in injury time for the visitors.

Sporting Gijon were beaten 3-2 at home by Real Mallorca. Jose Nunes put the visitors ahead but Adrian Colunga equalised before half-time.

An own goal from Pedro Orfila put Mallorca ahead and, although Alberto Botia equalised again in the 66th minute, Alvaro Gimenez won it for the visitors with a 77th-minute strike.

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