Numancia hold Barcelona to draw

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:50 IST

Relegation-threatened Numancia held Spanish Primera Liga leaders Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the Nuevo Los Pajaritos Stadium on Saturday.

Soria:

Relegation-threatened Numancia held Spanish Primera Liga leaders Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the Nuevo Los Pajaritos Stadium on Saturday. Barcelona were below par in the first half and Samuel Eto'o's long range effort in the 34th minute was the closest they came to scoring before the break. Numancia weren't much better than their visitors, but Juanlu's 42nd minute free kick went just wide of the target. Surprise lead However, the home side went on to take a surprise lead just two minutes later. Barca failed to clear Francisco Tarantino's long throw into the penalty area and the ball fell to Juanlu, who scored with a brilliant overhead kick that left goalkeeper Victor Valdes with no chance. Frank Rijkaard's half-time team talk obviously reminded a lacklustre Barca side of their attacking abilities. The visitors duly levelled in the second minute of the second half - Rafael Marquez making the most of lazy defending at the near post to turn in Xavi's corner kick. Numancia should have reclaimed their lead just one minute later though. Teasing cross A teasing cross from the right wing floated just over Miguel's head and Juanlu was again perfectly placed to punish Barcelona. But the left winger's first time shot went woefully wide of the target, to the relief of Rijkaard. Juanlu would regret that miss, but Numancia's goal scorer had a chance to make amends in the 74th minute. Valdes was tempted out of his goal by Luis Tevenet's run to the left wing and only the presence of Carles Puyol denied the home side a chance to turn the substitute's cross into the empty net. The visitors failed to clear their lines though and a slip by substitute Demetrio Albertini left Juanlu with a chance to become the hero. But he failed to keep his shot down and the ball flew over the crossbar before the midfielder fell to the floor with cramp. Numancia were more than worthy of a point, but the 1-1 draw does little for Barcelona's title aspirations. (AP)

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