La Liga - Round-up: Balde denies Zaragoza win

Eurosport - Sun, 07 Mar 21:55:00 2010

Substitute Ibrahima Balde salvaged a 1-1 draw for 10-man Atletico Madrid with a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser against Real Zaragoza in their La Liga clash at La Romareda.

Ibrahima Balde Atletico Madrid - 0

Jiri Jarosik gave the hosts a seventh-minute lead with a powerful header before Jose Antonio Reyes was shown a straight red card for leading with his arm, but the visitors claimed a point with Balde's header in a thrilling finale.

Jarosik converted Matteo Contini's corner from the left with a bullet header after Gabi got a deft flick-on to give the hosts a slender lead which they would preserve as Atletico lacked inspiration and conviction in attack.

Humberto Suazo should have made it two in the 28th minute as Eliseu whipped over a pinpoint delivery from the right but the forward could only head tamely, straight at David De Gea in the Atletico goal from close range.

Suazo then squandered an even better chance in the 65th minute after he stole in to latch on to Edmilson's through ball with just David De Gea to beat, but he dinked his shot narrowly wide of the far post.

Five minutes later, Reyes, who had been kicked incessantly by Zaragoza as the hosts received seven bookings, finally lost his cool and attempted to brush off Herrera Ander with his arm, and the full-back reacted theatrically to ensure that a red card was brandished.

But Atletico were undeterred by their numerical disadvantage, and substitute Balde (pictured), within five minutes of coming on as a late replacement, powered a stunning header past Roberto to level the scores deep into stoppage-time.

Zaragoza remain in 17th spot, just five points above the relegation zone, while Quique Sanchez Flores's side move above Osasuna into 10th place.

In the other late match in La Liga, a brace from Gaizka Toquero gave Athletic Bilbao a comfortable 2-0 victory over an insipid Real Valladolid in their La Liga encounter at San Mames.

The forward rose imperiously to open the scoring with his head in the 27th minute from a corner out on the left, and Justo Viveros was helpless to prevent his side slipping behind.

Valladolid defended sloppily in the first half, and Toquero doubled his tally 10 minutes later after he latched on to a through ball from Javi Martinez and slid a low shot under Viveros in clinical fashion to give his side a two-goal cushion.

Fernando Llorente should have made it three moments later as he headed straight at Viveros from close range, and the forward came even closer in the 51st minute as he converted Martinez's delivery with his head from close range, only to see the offside flag raised.

The visitors never looked remotely like narrowing the deficit and remain rooted in 18th spot with just 20 points, while Bilbao consolidate seventh place, one point behind Deportivo in sixth.

Real Mallorca swept aside Sporting Gijon 3-0 to keep up their push for a place in next season's Champions League.

The islanders won for the 11th time in 12 home games thanks to goals from Julio Alvarez, Victor and Pierre Webo as they joined fourth-placed Sevilla on 43 points.

Mallorca are fifth due to their inferior head-to-head record with Manolo Jimenez's side.

Valencia are third with 46 points and can strengthen their position with a win at home to Racing Santander on Monday.

Elsewhere, basement side Xerez rallied from 2-1 down to register their first away win with a 4-2 victory in Malaga, but stay bottom with 15 points from 25 games, 10 adrift of safety.

Both sides finished with 10 men but a double from Momo and strikes from Leandro Gioda and Fabian Orellana delivered the points for the top-flight debutants.

Espanyol held Villarreal to a goalless draw despite having Jose Callejon sent off for a second bookable offence in the 76th minute, while Osasuna and Getafe also ended in a stalemate at Reyno de Navarra.

Dan Quarrell / Eurosport

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