Valencia lose ground on Atletico after Bilbao reverse
10 April 2015, 08:33
Madrid - Valencia lost ground in the battle with Atletico Madrid and Sevilla for third place in La Liga when they conceded a late Aritz Aduriz equaliser in a bad-tempered 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao on Thursday.
Valencia, champions Atletico and Sevilla are battling it out for both third place and an automatic berth in the Champions League group stage and fourth, which carries a spot in qualifying for Europe's elite club competition.
With eight games left, Atletico are third on 65 points after they won 2-0 at home to Real Sociedad on Tuesday, three ahead of Valencia in fourth. Sevilla, 2-1 winners at Levante on Tuesday, are fifth on 61 points.
Barcelona, chasing a fifth title in seven years, lead on 74, four ahead of second-placed Real Madrid.
Bilbao, who are through to next month's King's Cup final to play Barca, came close to an opener when an Aduriz header was cleared off the line by Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi in the 56th minute at the San Mames.
Substitute Rodrigo De Paul, who had come on for the injured Pablo Piatti midway through the first half, fired Valencia ahead five minutes later when Paco Alcacer cleverly let the ball run past him and De Paul clipped a shot past Gorka Iraizoz into the corner of the home goal.
Otamendi was shown a straight red card six minutes from time for a dangerous tackle on Mikel San Jose before Aduriz pounced on a loose ball in the 90th minute to rescue a point for the Basque club, who have recovered well from a poor start to the campaign and are eighth on 40 points.
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