MADRID - Villarreal's chances of returning to the Champions League next year suffered another setback when they were held 0-0 away to Real Valladolid in the Primera Liga on Sunday. Manuel Pellegrini's side, dumped out of this season's competition at the quarter-final stage when they lost 3-0 to Arsenal during the week, were short on ideas in Valladolid. The hosts lost defender Inaki Bea to a red card for a foul in the area early in the second half, but Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi put the penalty over the crossbar and they failed to make the extra man count. It was their third league match in a row without a win. Villarreal stay sixth on goal difference with 49 points, behind Atletico Madrid, who beat Numancia 3-0 on Saturday, and Valencia. Barcelona continue to lead the standings by six points from champions Real Madrid after both sides won away on Saturday. Barca have 78 points with seven games to go, after winning 1-0 at Getafe, while Real were 1-0 victors at Recreativo Huelva. In the battle to avoid relegation, an Ivan Alonso header earned Espanyol a 1-0 win at home to Racing Santander that dragged them off the bottom. They climbed one point above Numancia into 19th, and are one short of Recreativo and four points from safety.
19 April 2009
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