Levante hold Barca to 1-1 draw

Alvaro Maior scored in the 77th minute and Levante rallied to draw FC Barcelona 1-1 Saturday.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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Alvaro Maior scored in the 77th minute and Levante rallied to draw FC Barcelona 1-1 Saturday, ending the Spanish league leader's three-game winning streak. Barcelona, however, remained atop La Liga with 30 points, two ahead of Sevilla and four in front of Real Madrid. Sevilla will have a chance to go atop the table when it travels to play at Espanyol. Real Madrid hosts Athletic Bilbao. In other games on Saturday, Recreativo Huelva beat Valencia 2-0 and Atletico Madrid won 1-0 at Real Betis. Elsewhere Sunday, it will be Real Sociedad vs Getafe, Villarreal vs Gimnastic Tarragona, Mallorca vs Celta Vigo, Deportivo La Coruna vs Racing Santander and Zaragoza vs Osasuna. Without Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi, Barcelona struggled early against Levante's midfield. Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard included Lilian Thuram in the starting lineup after the French defender complained of being under utilized. Deco free kick Deco gave Barcelona lead in the 41st, sending a free kick off the post in the top left corner and into the right side of the net. The goal came 15 minutes after the Barcelona midfielder lashed out at Levante midfielder Mathieu Berson after a foul and walked away without a card. Levante slowly took control in the second half, with midfielder Felix Ettien troubling Barcelona's defense. Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes bobbled a powerful shot in the 69th minute after Ettien had shrugged off a fierce tackle by Silvinho. Maior capitalized on a rebound to score the equalizer, scoring after Valdes parried a free kick by Olivier Cappo. Celebration gone sour In Saturday's late game, Real Betis unveiled a team song to celebrate the club's centenary amid fireworks and colorful banner and flag-waving at Manuel Ruiz de Lopera stadium. Betis was founded in 1907. Argentina forward Luciano Galletti provided Atletico's goal in the 33rd minute, and goalkeeper Leo Franco saved two penalties to preserve the victory. Franco drew gasps Lopera when, at full stretch to his left, he stopped thwarted Edu Schmidt's penalty attempt in the 52nd minute and then recovered swiftly to punched clear a powerfully struck rebound by Betis' central defender Juanito Gutierrez. He provided more heroics in the 69th minute Franco by denying midfielder Fernando Fernandez on his penalty attempt, moving Atletico past Zaragoza into fourth with 24 points. In Huelva, Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares cleared a shot in the second minute only to see midfielder Aitor Tornavaca convert the rebound. Florent Sinama-Pongolle, on loan to Recreativo from Liverpool, scored in the 82nd when he sidestepped defender Raul Albiol and Canizares for a close-range goal. (AP)