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Valencia grabs a point and some pride with two late goals in Spain

Valencia grabs a point and some pride with two late goals in Spain

Goals in the last 15 minutes from Nicola Zigic and David Silva helped Valencia salvage a 2-2 draw at Real Zaragoza on Saturday.
"This team showed great spirit. When you are losing 2-0 and then come back to draw it's because the players have pride but we have still got to improve our football," said Valencia coach Ronald Koeman.
The fact remains that Valencia has slipped from being championship contenders at the beginning of November when Koeman took charge to seventh place after going five La Liga games without a win.
Valencia had to dig deep after first half errors by third choice goalkeeper Juan Luis Mora left the home side two up at the break.
Diego Milito put Zaragoza in front from the penalty spot after 18 minutes, the Argentine striker's ninth goal of the season, after Mora had brought down Ricardo Oliveira in the area.
Things went from bad to worse for Mora, playing in his first league game for two seasons, after 30 minutes when he pushed a Sergio Garcia pass into his own net.
Zaragoza nearly went further ahead just before the break when Oliveira found the net with a header.
However, the Brazilian's goal was disallowed because he apparently fouled Spanish international defender Carlos Marchena.
Zigic then got one back after 76 minutes, the giant 2.02-meter Serbian striker leaping head-and-shoulders above the Zaragoza defense to head home an Angel Arizmendi cross.
The goal, Valencia's first in the league in five games, ignited the 2002 and 2004 Spanish champions.
Silva forced a draw with a blistering left foot shot from just inside the area four minutes from time.
Arizmendi almost made it a night even more memorable for Valencia, hitting the post in injury time.
Sevilla put its faltering La Liga form behind it, in sharp contrast to its Champions League exploits, to beat Racing Santander 4-1 later on Saturday.
Double delight for Totti
Returning Roma talisman Francesco Totti scored a brace to earn the capital-based club a 2-0 win over Sampdoria at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday and keep it in the Serie A title chase.
Second-placed Roma closed the gap on leader Inter Milan to just four points ahead of the eagerly anticipated Milan derby with newly-crowned world champions AC Milan this morning Taiwan time.
Totti was making his second injury comeback of the season having missed last week's disappointing 0-0 draw at Torino and he proved he was back to his best with a crucial double, the first a cute finish from the penalty spot.
"I wanted to finish 2007 in a big way. I'm happy and I want to thank my teammates who let me take the penalty and set me up at the end," he told Sky Sport.
It was the penalty that never should have been, though, as the referee offered Roma an early Christmas present on 18 minutes.
Center-back Matteo Ferrari, playing in place of the suspended Frenchman Philippe Mexes, crumpled into a heap in the box under the slightest of challenges from Stefano Lucchini and the official shockingly pointed to the spot.
Lucchini's bad luck got even worse as he was laughably also booked for his troubles.
That may have been a gift but captain Totti's finish from 12-yards was sublime as he calmly chipped the ball just under the cross-bar as goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi dived to his right.
Any hope Sampdoria had of getting back into the match effectively ended when Volpi was harshly sent off on 57 minutes.
He tripped Perrotta in full flight but his challenge was neither malicious nor decisive yet, incredibly, a second harsh decision went against the visitors.
Roma clinched victory in the last minute Totti grabbed his second, tapping home after a brilliant run down the right from Marco Cassetti.
It was Totti's first league goals since October 20, although it was also only his second league appearance since then due to injuries.
"It was difficult spending two months on the sidelines because I was playing really well before that," added Totti.
"The championship? It's a marathon, we won't make the same mistakes as last year when we finished 20 points back (from Inter). It will go to the wire."
Earlier in the day Genoa eased clear of the Serie A drop zone with a vital 1-0 home win over Parma.


Updated : 2021-06-25 07:04 GMT+08:00