Tue, Sep 29, 2009 - Page 18 News List

LFP: Villarreal slump to defeat at Deportivo

UNDER PRESSURE Villarreal languish second from bottom, while Deportivo climbed to fifth, a point behind Mallorca, who continued their good start with a win over Valladolid

AFP , MADRID

Espanyol’s Hurtado Moises, top, vies for the ball with Xerez goalkeeper Renan Brito, right, during their La Liga match at the Cornella-El Prat Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Villarreal coach Ernesto Valverde came under more pressure on Sunday as his side slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Deportivo La Coruna to leave them languishing second from bottom of the table.

Deportivo’s Brazilian midfielder Juca, a summer signing from Partizan Belgrade, scored a free-kick after eight minutes to decide the match, although Villarreal spurned a number of chances to equalize.

Valverde arrived as Manuel Pellegrini’s successor in the summer having won a league and cup double with Greek giants Olympiakos, but has yet to taste his first win in charge and the pressure is mounting.

“We had a problem getting into the match, but Deportivo only had one clear chance in the first half apart from their goal,” Valverde said. “In the second half we dominated, but just couldn’t score.”

Villarreal’s next match is against Valverde’s old club Espanyol, who he guided to the 2007 UEFA Cup final where they lost on penalties to Sevilla.

Deportivo, meanwhile, climb to fifth with their latest victory, a point behind fourth-placed Real Mallorca, who continued their superb start with a 3-0 home win over Valladolid to climb up to fourth.

Mallorca were the third best team in the second half of last season — only Barcelona and Real Madrid collected more points — and they appear to have continued where they left off.

“Our target is to have a relaxed season,” said Real Mallorca coach Gregorio Manzano, whose side have won their three home games without conceding a goal. “We are delighted to keep clean sheets at home and we have only let in three goals in five games, which is a great start.”

Portuguese defender Jose Nunes scored after three minutes, before Aritz Aduriz grabbed a second close to the hour mark and Borja Valero notched a third shortly after.

In Sunday’s other matches, it was a historic day for Xerez who recorded their first ever point in the Spanish top flight with a 0-0 draw at Espanyol.

Xerez fans have waited 62 years for their side to grace the top division and had started with four defeats since winning promotion as second division champions.

They stay bottom, however, and have yet to score their first goal in the top tier.

“A draw was a fair result and this point is great for our morale,” Xerez coach Jose Ziganda said. “There are still eight and a half months left in the season for us to move forward.”

Osasuna, who beat relegation on the final day of last season, climbed into mid-table with a 1-0 win over Sporting Gijon in Pamplona.

Iranian international Javad Nekanoum converted from the penalty spot after 55 minutes to clinch the spoils for Osasuna.

Promoted Real Zaragoza are also going well with a 3-0 win over Getafe on Sunday lifting them to a creditable eighth in the standings.

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