Deportivo miss chance to gain ground


Deportivo missed a good chance to put pressure on new league leaders Valencia and second-placed Real Madrid when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Racing Santander.

Depor, the only team apart from the top two in with a realistic chance of taking the title, went ahead three minutes before halftime with an Albert Luque blast. Javier Irureta's side had plenty of chances to add to their lead but a fine finish from Javi Guerrero provided Racing with an equaliser in the 77th minute.

A draw left Deportivo in third place on 37 points at the halfway stage in the season, six points behind Valencia and five behind Real Madrid.

Valencia dislodged Real at the top of the table, and took the honorary title of winter champions into the bargain, when they beat Albacete 1-0 on Saturday and Real went down 1-0 at Real Sociedad.

Villarreal climbed up to fourth place on Sunday with 30 points thanks to a 3-1 win at home to Valladolid.