Villarreal and Espanyol draw

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Villarreal had to settle for a stuttering 0-0 draw when they played Espanyol in the Primera Liga on Sunday.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Villarreal hosted Primera Liga strugglers, Espanyol, at the Estadio El Madrigal on Sunday. After a slow start to the season, the hosts have enjoyed an upturn in form and were looking to clinch their third win in a row and establish themselves in the top half of the table. With just four points from five outings, Espanyol were desperate to avoid defeat and gain something from this fixture. The hosts had the better of the opening exchanges as midfielder Ruben Cani wove his way through the Espanyol defence only to see his shot easily saved by keeper Carlos Kameni. They continued to create chances throughout the half. Diego Forlan surged down the left and found Marcos Senna with a deft cross but Kameni got in the way again. But the visitors were far from outplayed and threatened to score themselves shortly before the end of the first half. Francisco Rufete strode through the defence before passing to Ivan De la Pena who chipped the ball wide of the goal. Villarreal started the second half brightly when Forlan met Alessio Tacchinardi's cross with a powerful header, but Kameni was again equal to the challenge. With just a minute left, it seemed as if Espanyol had broken the deadlock and secured all three points. Substitute Walter Pandiani, who had been on the pitch for barely five minutes, headed a De la Pena cross into the back of the net to send the visiting fans wild. But the referee's assistant signalled that the ball had gone out of play before it reached Pandiani and Espanyol had to settle for the draw. The result means that Espanyol drop to 16th in the table while Villarreal remain in 10th place. (AP)