Villarreal needed a stoppage time penalty from Giuseppe Rossi to salvage a 1-1 draw at Sporting Gijon on Sunday as they lost ground on Spanish league leaders Real Madrid.
A Diego Castro goal on 68 minutes looked set to condemn Villarreal to their first defeat since the opening day of the season, however, Italian international forward Rossi converted a spot-kick in the dying seconds for his sixth league goal of the season.
Third-placed Villarreal extend their unbeaten league run to eight games but fall three points behind pacesetters Real Madrid and two behind Barcelona in second.
Elsewhere Deportivo La Coruna finally recorded their first win of the season and did it in style with a 3-0 home victory over Espanyol at the Riazor Stadium.
Goals from Adrian Alvarez and centre-backs Alberto Lopo and Diego Colotto helped Depor move off the bottom of the table – with winless Real Zaragoza slumping to the foot of the table – with their maiden win.
In other matches, promoted Real Sociedad moved up to ninth in the table with a 2-1 win at stuggling Malaga who lie third from bottom.
On Saturday Barcelona thrashed Sevilla 5-0 at Camp Nou to stay within a point of leaders Real Madrid and midfielder Xavi Hernandez said the consistency of Real was pushing them on.
“They (Real) are doing things very well and that stimulates us,” said Xavi. “We won?t get into a war of words with (Jose) Mourinho we want a war on the pitch.”
Real are unbeaten under coach Jose Mourinho and came from behind to win 3-1 at Hercules and retain top spot in the Spanish first division.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late brace to make it 11 league goals for the season to top the goal-scoring charts four ahead of Barcelona?s Lionel Messi.
“I?m in great form and having a phenomenal run,” said Ronaldo. “I am scoring goals and I?m happy because we are still leading the table.”
Atletico Madrid host Almeria later on Sunday at the Vicente Calderon as the bid to climb up from 11th position ahead of next weekend?s big derby match against rivals Real Madrid.
Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan is set to start and Atletico manager Quique Sanchez Flores believes it is just a matter of time before the striker gets back among the goals again.
“(Diego) Forlan is working hard in training to reach his best and I am calm about it,” said Flores. “A goal will come sooner or later because goals are something he does naturally.”
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