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Rediff.com  » Sports » Barca held at home

Barca held at home

September 14, 2008 08:38 IST

Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Racing Santander in the Primera Liga on Saturday, leaving new coach Pep Guardiola still seeking his first league win at the helm.

Lionel Messi came off the bench in the second half to inspire a toothless Barca, who lost 1-0 at Numancia in their season opener, and scored a 71st minute penalty.

But Racing levelled six minutes later when Jonathan Pereira diverted a free kick past Victor Valdes, and the visitors hung on for the draw under intense late pressure.

High-flying Atletico Madrid, who thrashed visitors Malaga 4-0 in their opening match, suffered a setback at 10-man Valladolid, who condemned Javier Aguirre's side to a 2-1 defeat.

Angel Vivar Dorado and Javier Baraja, with a penalty, scored either side of defender Pedro Lopez's 21st-minute sending off. Atletico substitute Sergio Aguero pulled a goal back for the visitors after the break.

Sevilla were hosting promoted Sporting Gijon later on Saturday. Champions Real Madrid play another promoted team, Numancia, at the Bernabeu on Sunday.

HLEB INJURED

Barca struggled against a well-organised Racing side and lost Belarus midfielder Aleksandr Hleb to twisted ankle ligaments just before the break.

Guardiola turned to Messi early in the second half and only the saves of visiting goalkeeper Tono kept them at bay until Racing's Christian Fernandez handled in the area for a penalty.

Messi broke the deadlock from the spot but soon after Pereira diverted in Ezequiel Garay's free kick to equalise.

Atletico left Diego Forlan at home and strike partner Aguero on the bench with one eye on Tuesday's Champions League opener at PSV Eindhoven.

Valladolid took full advantage when Atletico goalkeeper Gregory Coupet failed to get to a free kick in the fourth minute, allowing Vivar Dorado to bundle the ball home.

The home side lost full back Lopez to a foolish second yellow card for a dive in the area but Atletico failed to react.

Vivar Dorado went down in the area at another free kick in the 28th minute and Baraja put away the ensuing penalty.

Atletico turned to Aguero at the interval and the Argentina striker made an immediate impact, pouncing on a parry from Sergio Asenjo in the 55th minute, but Valladolid held firm.

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