MADRID: Valencia reclaimed fourth spot from Real Mallorca thanks to a fortunate 1-0 win over bottom side Malaga on Sunday with defender David Navarro's first goal of the season clinching the points.
Centre-back Navarro jumped highest at the back post to head in a Pablo Hernandez cross for the winning goal on 68 minutes as Valencia moved a point behind third-placed Sevilla. Malaga continue to prop up the table having not won since the opening day of the season when they thrashed Atletico Madrid 3-0.
Real Mallorca are a point behind Valencia after maintaining their 100 per cent home record with a 1-0 win over Racing Santander. Cameroon striker Pierre Webo scored the decisive goal to make it a perfect five wins for Mallorca at their fortress-like Ono Stadium.
Deportivo La Coruna lost ground with Mallorca and Valencia following a 1-1 draw at Sporting Gijon. Depor's first draw of the season seems them fall two points behind Valencia in sixth. Earlier Villarreal powered out of the bottom three thrashing promoted Tenerife at El Madrigal where three of the hosts' five unanswered goals came in a magical six-minute spell.
An action-packed start to the second half saw veteran French midfielder Robert Pires put Villarreal 2-0 up 60 seconds after the break before Giuseppe Rossi (51 min) and Jose Llorente (52) put hapless Tenerife to the sword. Llorente had opened the scoring after 14 minutes and Ruben Cani ended the goal-scoring rout in the 88th minute.
After going seven games without a win Villarreal have now recorded successive victories and move up five places to 13th in the table. Villarreal's win sees Atletico Madrid, who face Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday, fall into the bottom three with just one win from nine games. Tenerife hover just above the relegation zone after failing to collect a point on their travels.
BIRMINGHAM: Shay Given was Manchester City's hero as the goalkeeper produced several fine saves to earn Mark Hughes's men a point in their goalless Premier League draw away to Birmingham City on Sunday.
The stalemate at St Andrews was enlivened by an impressive display from Given, including a penalty save from Scotland's James McFadden. Manchester City's fourth straight draw was good enough to take the visitors into fourth place in the table. Birmingham's disappointment at seeing McFadden miss was made worse when midfielder Barry Ferguson was sent off in injury-time for his second bookable offence after trying to stop Manchester City taking a quick throw.
The home side had a gilt-edged opportunity to take the lead in the 55th minute after Nigel de Jong handled in the box. But the resulting penalty saw McFadden strike a weak shot and the goalkeeper, diving to his left, made a two-handed save. — AFP