Real Madrid held by another late free kick

Published March 21, 2012

| Sports Network

For the second match in a row, Real 1 draw with Villarreal at El Madrigal on Wednesday.

Real was held to a 1-1 draw by Malaga at the Bernabeu last time out and appeared to be in control at El Madrigal after Cristiano Ronaldo gave the visitors a second-half lead, but the wheels fell off the bus when Marcos Senna netted from a set piece seven minutes from time.

The opener came in the 62nd minute following a great exchange with Mesut Ozil.

Ronaldo started the move from the left flank with a ball played inside to the Turkish-born German, who flicked a return pass into the penalty area. The Portuguese star latched on to the through ball and evaded couple of challenges before slipping a shot into the back of the net for his 33rd La Liga goal of the season.

But the lead ultimately did not last as the Yellow Submarines pulled level in the 83rd minute. Senna emulated Santi Cazorla's free-kick strike from Malaga's draw with Real on Sunday and delivered a pinpoint effort around the wall. The Spaniard's shot was just out of reach for Iker Casillas as he helplessly watched the ball cross the goal line just inside the post.

Things went from bad to worse for Real Madrid as it had two players sent off down the stretch.

Sergio Ramos was given his marching orders after picking up a second bookable offence, while Ozil was handed a straight red card for his protest of the sending off.

Real Madrid's once comfortable La Liga lead over Barcelona has dwindled to just six points as the Catalans have made up four points in the span of five days. Jose Mourinho's men sit first in Spain's top flight with 72 points.

Villarreal snaps a three-game losing run with the draw, lifting the club four points clear of the relegation zone.

Real Zaragoza 2, Valencia 1

Valencia, Spain - Valencia held a man advantage for much of the match but was unable to come away from the Mestalla with three points as it suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to nine-man Real Zaragoza on Wednesday.

Things started brightly for Valencia, which was up a goal with Pablo Hernandez's strike in the ninth minute and up a man with Pablo Alvarez's sending off in the 20th minute. But a brace from Apono earned an unlikely win for the La Liga bottom-feeders as the Blanquillos improve to 22 points on the season. Franco Zuculini was also sent off three minutes from time after picking up his second yellow card.

Valencia remains in third place on 47 points, but only leads fourth-place Levante by three points.

Atletico Madrid 2, Athletic Bilbao 1

Madrid, Spain - Falcao netted a second-half brace to see Atletico Madrid claim a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday.

Atletico's leading scorer struck in the 49th and 71st minutes to bring his season tally to 19 goals on the year, while Javi Martinez pulled back a late consolation goal for the visitors.

The home side pulled ahead of Bilbao in the table as Atletico climbs to seventh place on 39 points, two points better than Marcelo Bielsa's men, who have lost three straight in league play.

Levante 3, Real Sociedad 1

San Sebastian, Spain - Levante climbed into sole possession of fourth place on Wednesday following a 3-1 defeat of 10-man Real Sociedad at the Anoeta.

Juan Ignacio Martinez's side entered the match tied for fourth with Malaga, but the win lifts the Frogs to 44 points on the season as they look to finish in the vital Champions League qualification spot that it currently occupies. Real Sociedad has lost two straight to remain on 33 points.

Carlos Vela had given the home side the lead, but Levante battled back through a Jose Barkero penalty and 44th minute strike from Arouna Kone. Gorka Elustondo was sent off for Sociedad in the second half, giving Levante the impetus to seal the win with a goal from Xavi Torres in stoppage time.

Mallorca 3, Sporting Gijon 2

Gijon, Spain - Mallorca came out on top after trading goals with Sporting Gijon in a 3-2 win at El Molinon.

Jose Nunes gave the visitors the lead before Adrian Colunga pulled Sporting level. Sporting Gijon reserve team player Pedro Orfila conceded an own goal two minutes after halftime, but Alberto Botia made amends to equalize for the home side in the 66th minute. Alvaro ultimately sealed the win for Mallorca with the game-winner 13 minutes from time.

Mallorca, unbeaten in its last four, has won two straight to improve to 36 points. Sporting Gijon has lost two on the bounce to remain second from bottom on 24 points, four points away from safety.

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