MADRID - Thierry Henry came off the bench to rescue a point for Barcelona as the leaders came back to draw 2-2 at Valencia in the Primera Liga on Saturday. Two quick goals before the break from Valencia's Hedwiges Maduro and Pablo Hernandez had helped the home side move 2-1 ahead, overturning Lionel Messi's opener for the visitors. But Henry's deflected shot looped into the net for the equaliser with five minutes to go moving Barca seven points clear of chasing Real Madrid, who visit Sevilla on Sunday. Barca have 82 points with five matches left to play ahead of the champions on 75, Sevilla with 57 and Valencia on 56. "We showed a lot of courage not giving up the game for dead," Henry told La Sexta television. "We didn't want to lose here and we never gave up." Valencia gave Barca little space to work in but they were sliced open by a swift interchange of passes between Andres Iniesta and Messi in the 24th minute, with Iniesta's final lay-off leaving the Argentine with a tap in. Barca continued to struggle with Valencia's swift breaking style, however, and the hosts drew level when visiting keeper Victor Valdes failed to take a corner two minutes before the break, allowing Maduro to bundle the ball over the line. Barca were still reeling when Hernandez burst from midfield, played a one-two with Juan Mata, and slid the ball under Valdes. The visitors piled on the pressure in the second half and it was a weak punch from Valencia keeper Cesar Sanchez at a freekick that fell to Henry who struck the equaliser. NUMANCIA LOSE Earlier, Malaga drew 1-1 with visitors Deportivo Coruna to improve their chances of claiming a place in Europe next season. Albert Luque's powerful drive gave the home side the lead but Sergio's header just after halftime levelled the score, and Malaga's Apono had a late penalty saved by Daniel Aranzubia. Malaga are sixth with 51 points, one ahead of Deportivo who climbed to seventh. Bottom club Numancia lost 2-1 at Almeria and moved a step closer to a return to the second division. The Sorians, who were promoted to the top flight as champions last year, were undone by Almeria striker Alvaro Negredo who set up both goals for the hosts in the first half. The ex-Real Madrid youth team player pulled the ball back for Kalu Uche to score early on and stole possession before crossing for Fernando Soriano to tap in a second ahead of the break. Asier Goiria headed a late goal for the visitors. Numancia's third straight defeat left them five points from the safety zone, having played a game more than their rivals. BARCELONA FANS! Check FourFourTwo.com’s ever-expanding interviews section for more stuff to read: Q&A Samuel Eto'o, Cesc Fabregas Web Exclusives Cesc Fabregas, Gary Lineker One on One Mark Hughes, Thierry Henry, Ronaldo Perfect XI Gheorghe Hagi, Hristo Stoichkov, Ronald Koeman Plus! Rate Barca players (and others) on Talentspotter
25 April 2009
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