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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep, 23, 2007

Liga: Saviola rescues Real at Valladolid

MADRID, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Substitute Javier Saviola scored a late equaliser for champions Real Madrid as they could only draw 1-1 at promoted Valladolid in the Primera Liga on Sunday. Bernd Schuster's side had won three from three and their opening match in the Champions League on Tuesday, but were out-fought for most of the game by their hosts. Right back Pedro Lopez's 25-metre thunderbolt set Valladolid on course for victory midway through the second half, before Argentine Saviola levelled four minutes from time. 'They played very well and it's an important point for us,' Real's Michel Salgado told Canal Plus television. Real, who lost their 100 percent record, stay top with 10 points, one ahead of Villarreal and Valencia who both won. Valencia overcame Real Betis 2-1 away to earn their fourth consecutive win in all competitions. Portugal fullback Miguel set them on their way with a great individual effort and winger Joaquin sealed the win against his former club in the closing stages. Brazilian Rafael Sobis pulled one back for Betis at the end. Valencia climbed to third, behind second-placed Villarreal who beat Real Murcia 2-0 at home with two goals in the last five minutes from Italian striker Giuseppe Rossi. Big-spending Atletico Madrid claimed their first win in the league with a 4-0 rout of 10-man Racing Santander at the Calderon. Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan and Simao Sabrosa found the back of the net to ease the pressure on coach Javier Aguirre. They moved up to sixth with five points. On Saturday, Lionel Messi led Barcelona to a 2-1 home victory over Sevilla that put them two points behind Real in fourth. Sevilla are fifth with six points and a game in hand. Real struggled to get hold of the ball as Valladolid's high-tempo opening proved they were not about to be overawed. Last season's runaway second division champions penned Real in their own half but for all their possession they struggled to carve out chances. Ruud van Nistelrooy put Robinho's cross just wide on a swift break and in the 43rd minute keeper Ludovic Butelle tipped Raul's snapshot round the post. A minute later, it was the visitors' Iker Casillas going full stretch to push Sisi's curling effort over the bar. Real coach Bernd Schuster had chosen to rest Dutchman Wesley Sneijder and they missed the pace and vision of their top scorer. He threw on Arjen Robben to try and gain the advantage in the second half but it was Lopez's thunderous long-range strike that threatened an upset. Guti's pass near the end allowed Van Nistelrooy to beat the off-side trap and he squared for Saviola to finish, but even after that Valladolid had chances for a winner.

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