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Sizing up La Liga title contenders

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Almeria 1-1 Espanyol

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Sergio Garcia scored the latest of late equalisers to earn 10-man Espanyol a point from a 1-1 draw at Almeria.

Francisco Rodriguez's Andalusians were the better side throughout but struggled to put countless chances away, with Fernando Soriano the only man able to get the ball past resilient visiting goalkeeper Francisco Casilla.

Espanyol were forced to close ranks when Anaitz Arbilla was sent off midway through the second half and not even a floodlight failure could provide the outside distraction they needed to snatch a goal against the run of play.

But Almeria really should have finished the Catalans off in the final exchanges and were duly punished as Sergio Garcia stole in to smash home a last-gasp leveller.

Almeria dominated the first 30 minutes and were unlucky not to score several times before the break.

They threatened first through Michel Macedo, whose shot was blocked by Diego Colotto, and Alvaro Gonzalez raced across the box to deny Teye Thomas a 16th-minute opener.

Jonathan Zongo tried to curl the ball past Casilla and the Espanyol goalkeeper was soon tested again by Jose Antonio Verza's drilled shot from distance.

Espanyol enjoyed a rare opportunity in front of goal when Colotto volleyed Salva Sevilla's corner straight into Almeria defender Angel Trujillo.

The dominant hosts were afforded even more space from the 33rd minute, when right-back Arbilla was dismissed for picking up a second yellow card.

Soriano spurned a double chance before the half-time whistle offered Espanyol some much needed respite.

But seven minutes after the restart, Almeria made an overdue breakthrough.

The goal came as a result of the Andalusians making quick progress into the Espanyol half through a Macedo free-kick and Soriano caught the retreating Catalans on the hop to slot home from 18 yards.

Almeria were denied the chance to build further momentum as a floodlight failure caused a brief suspension in play shortly before the hour mark.

When play resumed it was Espanyol who took the initiative, Gonzalez checking Ruben Martinez's reflexes with a diving header.

Martinez was working again in the 68th minute as Gonzalez came at him with another header effort - this time the Uruguayan flung himself at Sergio Garcia's free-kick from the left.

Sebastian Dubarbier made a poor connection with a sighter that could have caused the Espanyol defence real problems in the 78th minute, but Almeria were looking good for their win.

And so it was the cruellest of twists when Sergio Garcia snatched a point for Espanyol with the last kick of the game.

Almeria substitute Thievy had just missed what appeared to be the last chance of the match when, four minutes into stoppage time, Victor Sanchez Mata slipped the ball through to Sergio Garcia to level right at the death.

ends

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