Bilbao keep Europa hopes alive with late goal

A last gasp header from substitute Urko Vera salvaged a 2-2 draw for European chasing Athletic Bilbao against Getafe on Monday.

Updated: March 15, 2011 08:56 IST
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Barcelona: A last gasp header from substitute Urko Vera salvaged a 2-2 draw for European chasing Athletic Bilbao against Getafe on Monday.

The battle for a place in the Europa League remains wide open as none of the contenders appears capable of asserting their authority on the race.

Athletic suffered four straight defeats before their win against Sevilla last weekend and again they were far from their best against a Getafe side whose own European hopes appear over having gone six games now without a win.

"In the circumstances a point was not a bad result because it was not a good game for us," said Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros.

"It was very painful to see how we conceded the two goals because we are playing for our futures and we need to know how to deal with these situations."

His Getafe counterpart Jose Michel was angry with the score and felt that there was a foul on Jordi Codina before Athletic's second equaliser.

"There should have been a free-kick before the goal so it was more than just unlucky," he said.

"Results like this have been very costly for us and we have conceded late goals in a lot of matches.

"I am annoyed because my players are not happy and they have given their all in the match.

"I don't want to talk about anything other than the football but everything we have won this season we have achieved ourselves," he added.

In a disappointing game both sides were reduced to shots from distance. Athletic looked marginally more dangerous on the attack through Iker Muniain and Fernando Llorente while their own defence was holding firm.

Manu broke the deadlock after the break but then deflected a free-kick into his own goal a minute later.

It was Manu again who looked to have won the game for the home side before a grandstand finish saw Vera head home from a corner kick.

Barcelona's lead at the top of the table was reduced to five points as they could only draw 1-1 with Sevilla at the weekend.

While a Karim Benzema double gave Real Madrid a 2-0 win over Hercules, Barcelona paid for a poor second half showing.

Barca coach Pep Guardiola anticipated a tough game but they entirely dominated the opening spell with substitute Bojan Krkic giving them the lead.

Complacency set in though after the break as Jesus Navas equalised and he along with Frederic Kanoute had further opportunities to put Sevilla ahead.

Barca rallied late on with Andres Iniesta hitting the bar, but they had to settle for the draw.

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