Barca held, Deportivo beat Real Madrid 2-0

Associated Press

Madrid, February 27:

Last-place Numancia took advantage of an icy home field to hold Spanish league leader FC Barcelona to a 1-1 draw, while second-place Real Madrid lost 2-0 to Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

Barcelona got a 47th-minute equaliser from Rafael Marquez. Numancia forward Juanlu Gomez scored the first goal just before halftime with an overhead kick.

Madrid suffered a new blow to its title hopes, leaving them eight points behind Barcelona. Deportivo’s goals came in the first 13 minutes courtesy of Albert Luque and a Francisco Pavon own goal. Barcelona has 58 points, followed by Madrid (50). Real Betis (41) was third, ahead of Espanyol and Sevilla. Villarreal was next with 40 points.

Earlier, Espanyol beat Albacete 2-1 to climb into fourth place, while Levante downed Mallorca 2-1.

Barcelona began forcefully but was hampered by Numancia’s resolute defence and the difficult conditions. The leaders lost right back Juliano Belletti in the 31st when he fell awkwardly on the frostiest section of the turf and was carried off. Barcelona fell behind in the 44th when Juanlu executed a scissors kick and sent the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Victor Valdes. Barcelona recovered to level at the start of the second half when Marquez ran forward to meet Xavi Hernandez’s corner and poked the ball past goalkeeper Juanma Barrero.

English Premiership:

LONDON: Wayne Rooney saved Manchester United. The 19-year-old England striker scored early for United, and then notched the winner in the 81st minute in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Portsmouth at Old Trafford.

The victory helped United recover from a midweek loss to AC Milan in the Champions League, and pulled the Red Devils within six points of league-leading Chelsea.

Third-place Arsenal failed to bounce back from its Champions League loss to Bayern Munich, settling for a 1-1 draw at relegation-bound Southampton.

In another Premier League match, Everton solidified its hold on fourth place — the final Champions League spot — with a 3-1 victory at Aston Villa. Leon Osman scored twice and Tim Cahill added the other for the Toffees.

Andrew Johnson converted two penalties to lead Crystal Palace over Birmingham City 2-0, and Frederic Kanoute and Robbie Keane scored in Tottenham’s 2-0 win against Fulham.

Chelsea leads the Premier League with 68 points, followed by Man United with 62, Arsenal with 58, Everton with 51 and Liverpool with 43.

Italian Serie A:

ROME: Desperate Fiorentina wasted a two-goal lead and was held by Udinese to 2-2, leaving the Florentine side struggling at the bottom of the Serie A.

Earlier, midfielder Max Tonetto scored a second-half goal with a long-distance volley, and Sampdoria beat lowly Brescia 1-0 to lift itself into third place.

The win at Brescia Rigamonti stadium gave La Samp 44 points, one more than Inter Milan. Juventus and AC Milan are tied at 54 points each on top of the standings. Udinese slipped from fourth to fifth with 42 points. Fiorentina, a former great that rejoined the Serie A this season, held 16th place in the 20-team table.