Despite scorelines of 6-3 and 5-2 in La Liga this weekend all eyes as expected were on the Bernabeu as leaders Madrid faced second place Valencia.
The home side almost conceded top spot to their opponents before Raul, who missed three earlier goal scoring opportunities, was awarded a penalty by referee Tristante Oliva. Deep into added time at the end of the game Luis Figo stepped up and converted the spot kick to rescue a point for Madrid.
Earlier, Ayala had headed Valencia into the lead in the second half despite Madrid enjoying a better balance of the play.
The draw came as a relief for Madrid fans but despite the point, the team will be disappointed it did not gain revenge for the 2-0 defeat inflicted by Valencia last September
“I’m not sure whether it was a penalty, but we’re happy with the result,” said Real’s David Beckham.
‘I don’t think we robbed them because we didn’t deserve to lose. They got the goal but we kept battling until the end.”
It was fourth against fifth at the Nou Camp. Barcelona eventually prevailing 3-1 over Athletico in a game that saw recent signning Edgar Davids sent off for twoo bookable offences.
Saviola put the home side ahead on nine minutes before Nikolaidis equalised for Athletico.
Barca immediatly responded when Ronaldinho chipped them back into a lead. Saviola then turned provider crossing for Luis Garcia whose simple far post header ensured maximum points. D
eportivo in third maintained some pressure on the leaders when midfielder Victor Sanchez scored both goals in their 2-0 home win over Osasuna.
Four goals in as many games by striker Yeste was enough to earn Athletico Madrid a point at Real Sociedad. Nihat levelled for the home side five minutes before the close of the first half.
Celta Vigo’s return to form continued with a 2-0 win away at Real Valladolid. Meanwhile Betis piled more pressure onto Zaragoza winning 2-1, while Sevilla moved into tenth spot by beating basement side Murcia 3-1.
Villarreal were 6-3 winners at home to Racing and Malaga moved up the table with a 5-2 win over Malaga.