Friday, September 23, 2011

Euro giants falter as Barca, Real and Milan draw

Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas celebrates scoring his late equalizer
Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas celebrates scoring his late equalizer

  • Both Barcelona and Real Madrid draw in La Liga
  • Real Madrid held to a dull 0-0 draw against Racing Santander
  • Barcelona came from behind to draw 2-2 with Valencia
  • In Serie A, AC Milan also draw
(CNN) -- Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid were both held in La Liga as they battled to unconvincing draws.
Real Madrid failed to score for a second consecutive game as they were held 0-0 by Racing Santander. Coach Jose Mourinho could do little to inject some life into his team as they struggled to break down a spirited Racing defense.
In fact it was Racing who could have taken the lead after Oscar Serrano's superb strike was only kept out by a stunning finger-tip save by goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
The draw followed Real's 1-0 defeat to Levante and leaves them seventh in the league.
I'm happy because the lads played well
AC Milan coach Massimilano Allegri
"This was a different match to that against Levante as here it felt as though there was only one side looking to win the game," Mourinho told AFP.
"It is a worrying situation as we have now lost five points from two games away from home. It would be wrong to say one player hasn't scored or another one has failed but as a team we weren't at our best although we tried."
Meanwhile Barcelona were lucky to grab a 2-2 draw with Valencia, La Liga's early, surprise pace-setters.
In a chaotic 11 first half minutes Eric Abidal gifted Valencia the lead when he deflected a low cross from the left into his own net. Pedro soon equalized for Barcelona but a few moments later Pablo Hernandez tapped in to restore Valencia's well-deserved advantage.
But the match turned on what may well be the miss of the season when Roberto Soldado, totally unmarked and in the middle of an empty net, somehow slid in and diverted the ball past the left hand post.
In the second half Barcelona probed in their typically patient fashion before Cesc Fabregas scored his fourth goal of the season. The match finished 2-2.
Elsewhere Atletico Madrid won 4-0 win against Sporting Gijon. Big money summer signing Falcao scored twice, taking his tally to five goals in two games. Qatar-owned Malaga beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 whilst Levante followed their impressive victory over Real Madrid with all three points against Rayo Vallecano, beating them 2-1.
In Italy AC Milan needed a 63rd minute goal from teenage substitute Stephan el Shaarawy to earn a 1-1 draw against Udinese. The result means that both Milan clubs have yet to record a win this season. Tuesday night saw Inter Milan lose 3-1 to newly-promoted Novara and coach Gian Piero Gasperini lose his job.
But AC Milan coach Massimilano Allegri insisted that he was happy with his team's performance.
"We played well right up until the end and only risked conceding on the counter," he told AFP.
"It's normal that it's not nice looking at the table but the important thing is how you play. I'm happy because the lads played well and took risks by trying to score."
Genoa currently lead Serie A on goals scored after beating Catania 3-0.