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By ESPN Staff
Nov 2, 2008

Real Madrid held to draw at Almeria

MADRID, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Champions Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw at Almeria on Sunday and missed out on the chance to draw level on points with leaders Barcelona.

Real appeared to be cruising to a third successive Primera Liga win after Raul headed in during the first half, but with just under 10 minutes left Pablo Piatti beat Gabriel Heinze to Albert Crusat's cross and volleyed past Iker Casillas.

With nine matches played, Barcelona are top with 22 points, with Real in third on 20. Undefeated Villarreal are in second on 21 after their 4-1 win at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, the same margin by which Barcelona defeated Malaga.

Early pacesetters Valencia suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday, losing 4-2 at home to Racing Santander, and slipped to fourth place with 20 points.

Earlier on Sunday, 10-man Sevilla threw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at Real Valladolid, a second defeat in a row that leaves them stuck on 17 points in fifth spot.

The Andalusians had been 2-0 up inside half an hour as Jesus Navas first set up Renato to tap into an empty net and then fired in an acrobatic volley.

But Sevilla forward Luis Fabiano was sent off on 34 minutes and Valladolid came roaring back.

Jonathan Sesma rose at the near post to glance in a header just before the break and Uruguayan midfielder Fabian Canobbio scored twice in the second half, including a superb long-range free kick that flew into the top corner for the winner.

In other matches, Espanyol beat bottom club Osasuna 1-0, while Sporting Gijon came from a goal down to beat visiting Numancia 3-1, with two second-half goals from Croatian forward Mate Bilic.

Struggling Recreativo Huelva were held 1-1 by Getafe and Real Betis were at home to Deportivo Coruna in the late match.

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