Mon, Nov 13, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Late equalizer earns Bilbao a point

AP , MADRID

A 90th-minute equalizer by substitute Fernando Llorente earned struggling Athletic Bilbao a 1-1 draw with Valencia in the Spanish league on Saturday.

Fernando Morientes opened the scoring in the 44th minute with his fifth goal of the season for Valencia, which climbed to fourth place but extended its winless streak to three games.

Bilbao's late goal likely will ease criticism on coach Felix Sarriugarte, who took charge in the offseason. The Basque team, which has never been relegated, remained in 17th place with eight points.

Morientes scored by sweeping home a low cross by Portuguese right back Miguel.

Morientes' good form since joining Valencia from Liverpool in the offseason earned him a recall to Spain's squad on Friday. Spain plays Romania in a friendly on Wednesday.

Bilbao, which hasn't won at the Mestalla stadium since 1988, equalized when substitute Joseba Etxeberria made a darting run down the right before crossing for Llorente to head home from close range.

Valencia had six players sidelined including captain David Albelda. However, Spanish internationals Ruben Baraja and Vicente Rodriguez were on the bench after lengthy injury absences.

Baraja entered the game in the 86th minute in place of striker David Villa.

In Saturday's earlier game, Atletico Madrid beat Villarreal 3-1, its first win in four games to move it into sixth place with 17 points.

Villarreal took a 14th-minute lead at Atletico's Vicente Calderon stadium when defender Fabricio Fuentes took advantage of slack marking to strike a downward header from a floated free kick by Juan Roman Riquelme.

Atletico defender Ze Castro equalized in the 37th when he headed in Mariano Pernia's in-swinging free kick.

The goal was Atletico's first in five matches.

Atletico captain Fernando Torres then gave his side the lead with a penalty in the 45th after he was tripped by defender Pascal Cygan.

Torres limped off the field early in the second half and his replacement, Jose Manuel Jurado, supplied the pass for Sergio Aguero to chip home Atletico's third in the 64th.

Villarreal was reduced to 10 men in the 72nd when substitute Jose Mari Romero was ejected for a hard challenge on Atletico defender Giourkas Seitaridis.

Villarreal's defeat ended its six-match unbeaten run and dropped last season's Champions League semifinalists into ninth place with 15 points.

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