MADRID, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Valencia missed their chance to close the gap on the leaders in the Primera Liga when they were held to a 1-1 draw by basement side Gimnastic Tarragona on Sunday.
Valencia looked to be heading for victory when winger Joaquin scored his first goal since joining the club from Real Betis in the close season for a club record fee of 25 million euros ($32.78 million).
The Spain international broke Gimnastic's stubborn resistance when he poked home after Albano Bizzarri had parried a Fernando Morientes shot into his path just after the hour.
But substitute Ruben Castro denied Valencia victory when he headed in a great cross from Javier Portillo two minutes into injury time.
The draw left Valencia level on points with Real Madrid in third place in the table.
Earlier Sevilla moved to the top of the standings despite being held to a 0-0 draw at Getafe, although champions Barcelona will have the chance to regain top spot if they can earn at least a point from their late match at home to Athletic Bilbao.
Getafe, who have conceded just three goals and lost only once at home this season, neutralised Sevilla top scorer Frederic Kanoute and then did the same to his replacement Ernesto Chevanton as they kept another clean sheet at the Coliseo.
Bernd Schuster's side, who have beaten both Real Madrid and Valencia and drawn with Barcelona at the Coliseo this season, marked their 100th appearance in the top flight with another disciplined and determined performance.
The draw kept them in eighth spot, a point ahead of in-form Espanyol who notched up their third win in a row with a 2-0 victory at Osasuna.
Villarreal put an end to their three-match losing streak when a last-gasp strike from Argentine defender Fabricio Fuentes earned them a 2-1 win at home to Real Mallorca.
The victory lifted Manuel Pellegrini's side into 12th place, while the islanders are just a point above the drop zone.
Real Zaragoza missed the chance to leapfrog Atletico Madrid and move into fifth spot in the table when they were held 0-0 at Levante.