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La Liga: Real and Atletico Madrid draw 1-1 as Cadiz, Valencia take important wins in Spain

Madrid (Spain), Feb 26 (IANS) FC Barcelona can go 10 points clear at the top of La Liga on Sunday if they win away to Almeria after Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Madrid.

After a dull first half, where the main incident was a cruciate ligament injury suffered by Atletico left back Reinildo Mandava (who will miss the rest of the season), Atletico were reduced to 10 men in the 64th minute after Angel Correa was sent off for an apparent elbow in the chest of Real Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger.

Despite being down to 10 men, Atletico took the lead in the 78th minute through Jose Gimenez’s header from a set piece on Saturday night.

It looked as if Atletico were on for an unlikely three points, but Real Madrid’s young forward, Alvaro Rodriguez equalized five minutes from time from Luka Modric’s corner, reports Xinhua.

Third-place Real Sociedad slipped to defeat in a tense 1-0 game away to Valencia, who had kicked off second from the bottom of the table. Igor Zubeldia’s 40th-minute own goal after sliding a cross into his own net decided the match and lifted Valencia to fourth from bottom, after a disappointing display from the visitors.

Cadiz also climbed out of the relegation zone and kept their impressive home form going, as they won 1-0 at home to Rayo Vallecano.

Sergi Guardiola’s 73rd-minute goal against his former club gave Cadiz the points, and Rayo’s afternoon was made worse with an injury to the key midfielder, Santi Comesana and a late red card for Alejandro Catena. Two goals from Martin Braithwaite gave Espanyol an important 2-1 win at home to Mallorca to lift them further clear of the relegation zone.

Braithwaite put Espanyol up in the 21st minute, and although Vedat Muriqi levelled in the 40th minute, the Danish striker’s second goal in the 50th minute assured a vital win.

There was drama at Elche on Friday night when Betis came back from 2-0 down in a match that saw the visitors given three penalties, while Elche had three players sent off. Fidel Chaves and Lucas Boye put Elche 2-0 up within eight minutes before Borja Iglesias got Betis back into the match with the first penalty of the game in the 64th minute.

Juan Miranda saw a cross evade everyone and end up in the back of the net and after Iglesias had a penalty saved in the 89th minute, Wiliam Jose won the game for Betis with another spot kick in the 95th minute.

–IANS

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