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By ESPN Staff

La Liga: Villareal fluff chance to hit summit

MADRID, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Villarreal fluffed their chance to go top of the Primera Liga when they could only draw 1-1 at home with promoted Almeria in the Primera Liga on Sunday.

Leaders Real Madrid's 1-1 draw at Real Murcia on Saturday had left the door wide open and Villarreal looked to be on course when Turkish striker Nihat Kahveci burst clear to score in the 14th minute.

However, Almeria, who had not scored in their previous four matches, levelled through former Real youth team striker Alvaro Negredo early in the second half.

Real stay top with 29 points, one ahead of Villarreal and two clear of arch-rivals Barcelona, who beat Recreativo Huelva 3-0 in the Nou Camp on Saturday.

Espanyol climbed to fourth on 25 with a 2-1 win away to Osasuna, ahead of fifth-placed Atletico Madrid and sixth-placed Valencia who both have 24.

Atletico needed a last-minute own goal from Valladolid defender Pedro Lopez to secure a 4-3 win with 10 men, after a topsy-turvy encounter in the Calderon.

They went 1-0 up after three minutes through Portugal midfielder Maniche, and came back twice from 2-1 and 3-2 down thanks to a brace from Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez.

It was Atletico's third successive seven-goal home game after a 4-3 win over Sevilla and a 3-4 defeat to Villarreal.

An error from Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares allowed Racing Santander's Jorge Lopez to score the only goal of the game after 70 minutes in the Sardinero.

Canizares misjudged the former Valencia midfielder's fierce drive and miscued a punch into his own net, sending Valencia to their fourth consecutive league defeat in Santander.

The only positive news for Valencia coach Ronald Koeman was the return to action of Brazilian midfielder Edu, who has been out for almost a year after knee surgery.

A resilient Racing were a point back in seventh with 23 points.

Bottom club Levante survived another seven-goal thriller to beat Real Betis 4-3 at home, putting more pressure on the visitors' under-fire coach Hector Cuper.

Deportivo Coruna came from two down to draw 2-2 away to Athletic Bilbao after a last-minute header from Uruguayan striker Sebastian Taborda.

Francisco Sousa opened the scoring for Getafe at Real Zaragoza.

The home side equalised with ten minutes to go through Andres D'Alessandro.