La Liga: Atletico and Villarreal share eight goals

October 26, 2008

MADRID, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid grabbed the unlikeliest of points when they came back with ten men to draw 4-4 at Villarreal in the Primera Liga on Sunday.

Javier Aguirre's side entered the game on a three-match losing streak but stormed into a two-goal lead before Villarreal made the most of Ever Banega's red card just before the break.

The home side were cruising at 4-2 after 67 minutes when Atletico were brought back to life as Simao Sabrosa and then Raul Garcia scored near the end to level.

Unbeaten Villarreal were fourth with 18 points from eight games, two points short of leaders and near neighbours Valencia, who needed David Villa to score an equaliser for a 1-1 draw at lowly Recreativo Huelva.

Six victories and two draws signified Valencia's best start to a league season, surpassing the record set by Rafael Benitez's side in the 2003/4 season by one point.

Barcelona are second with 19 points after they trounced Almeria 5-0 at the Nou Camp on Saturday, ahead of arch-rivals Real Madrid on goal difference.

The champions survived a wobble in a bad-tempered game at the Bernabeu to beat Athletic Bilbao 3-2.

Early strikes from Wesley Sneijder and Gonzalo Higuain were cancelled out before the break by Joseba Etxeberria and an Andoni Iraola penalty.

But Argentine Higuain notched the winner in the second half as both sides hit the woodwork, and it came as little surprise when Bilbao were reduced to 10 men after Fernando Amorebieta earned a deserved red card.

Atletico had left Sergio Aguero on the bench again but Portugal winger Simao made that irrelevant inside the first minute crashing a stunning shot in off the underside of the bar.

Villarreal dominated but were hit on the break again when Simao crossed for Uruguay striker Diego Forlan to score against his former club.

Atletico made life easier for the home side as first Argentine midfielder Banega collected his second yellow card before the interval and then Leo Franco gifted them a goal fumbling Marcos Senna's long-range shot into his own net.

Llorente sprinted clear to level in the 51st minute and Argentine defender Gonzalo volleyed them in front, before Italian striker Rossi made it 4-2.

Out of nothing, Simao burst clear to pull one back for Atletico in the 82nd and three minutes later substitute Garcia headed in at a free kick to set up a frantic finale.

"Football is like this. When we were out of it and they were turning on the style, we found out that with pride we could get something from the game," said Atletico coach Aguirre.

"At the end Forlan almost earned us a greater prize"

Atletico are 10th with 10 points.

Sevilla slipped to fifth on 17 points after a 1-0 home defeat by Malaga, conceding their first goal in nine matches in all competitions when Adrian Lopez netted early on at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

Promoted Malaga made it four consecutive wins with the victory over their Andalucian rivals and are sixth with 13 points.