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Valencia fall off the pace with draw against Getafe

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MADRID, Feb 26 (Reuters) Second-placed Valencia slipped off the pace at the top of the Primera Liga as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Getafe today.

The visitors held firm under intense pressure until the 65th minute when they had Argentine defender Anibal Matellan sent off.

Valencia defender David Navarro scored from close range in the 77th minute after Fabio Aurelio's free kick was headed back across goal by Mario Regueiro, to break the deadlock.

But a wayward pass from David Albelda into his own area allowed Nano to sneak in and fire an unlikely equaliser three minutes from time.

Valencia, on 50 points, stretched their unbeaten run in the league to 14 games, but are now eight points behind leaders Barcelona who beat Real Zaragoza 2-0 yesterday.

Third-placed Real Madrid on 48 points can climb above Valencia into second if they beat struggling Real Mallorca away later today, when fourth-placed Osasuna are at home to Deportivo Coruna.

Celta Vigo climbed to fifth on 42 points after beating Cadiz 2-0 at home, while Sevilla dropped to sixth on 41 points following their 5-0 hammering away to Espanyol.

Near the bottom of the table, Real Betis climbed out of the relegation places with a 2-0 win at home to Real Sociedad, while struggling Athletic Bilbao drew 1-1 at home with Villarreal.

A minute's silence was held at the start of every Primera Liga game this weekend in honour of the country's most prolific striker Telmo Zarra who died of a heart attack on Thursday aged 85.

Reuters MP VP0008

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