Malaga defender Weligton scored a header deep in injury time to snatch a 1-1 draw at Villarreal on Friday, ending a two-game losing streak for Bernd Schuster’s side in the Spanish League.
The Brazilian muscled past his marker to head a last-gasp corner kick into the net four minutes into stoppage time and ruin what would have equaled Villarreal’s best ever start through 15 rounds.
Also, Getafe beat visiting Levante UD 1-0 thanks to Pedro Leon’s second-half goal to end a three-game winless run and provisionally rise into sixth place.
Villarreal’s draw left them fourth and in the final Champions League spot. Athletic Bilbao can pass Villarreal if they can find a way to deal Barcelona their first league loss today.
Malaga edged two points above the relegation zone before the rest of the fixtures this round, which were due to include Real Madrid’s home game against Real Valladolid yesterday.
“When you don’t win, it becomes a burden for the team, but the team is united and the result was fair considering the effort we put into it,” Weligton said.
Villarreal went ahead in the 32nd minute when Bruno Soriano volleyed Ruben “Cani” Gracia’s low cross into the far side of the net. However, Malaga stifled the hosts’ normally vibrant attack until their final push paid off.
Mexico forward Giovani dos Santos returned for Villarreal after missing the last two games with a muscle injury to his left leg. However, the former Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur player showed no lasting effects.
Levante established the slow tempo that favored their defensive style in a first half that saw no clear chances from either side, leading to the sparse crowd of only 4,000 at the Alonso Perez Coliseum jeering both teams as they walked off the pitch at half-time.
Levante threatened soon after the break, but Getafe goalkeeper Miguel Moya saved Simao Mate’s header in the 51st minute before Jordi Xumetra volleyed Senegalese midfielder Papakouly Diop’s lofted pass wide.
The home side showed more verve in attack and broke through when Simao’s attempt to clear the ball hit another player, with the ball falling for Leon to blast it in off the upright.
Getafe’s win came six days after losing 7-0 to Atletico Madrid.
“We know that this wasn’t our best game, but these are three important points after the big setback we suffered last week,” Leon said. “Being Getafe, we are having a good season.”
It was Levante’s fourth straight loss.
Additional reporting by staff writer