La Liga Round-up
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Valencia held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw as Real Madrid left it late at Racing Santander.
Defending champions Valencia stayed in the title race with a stormy 1-1 draw at leaders Barcelona, as Real Madrid snatched a last-gasp victory at Racing Santander.
Barcelona required a dodgy penalty to bag a point at home to Claudio Ranieri's side, while Zinedine Zidane scored two minutes into stoppage time to give Real a 3-2 success at Santander.
Valencia rarely mustered the courage to attack in the first half at Camp Nou, but Barcelona lacked their usual verve and vigour going forward.
Andres Iniesta blazed a good early chance over the bar before Santiago Canizares fumbled a Deco effort towards the end of the first half.
The game followed a similar pattern after the break, with Iniesta curling wide before Che snatched the lead against the run of play.
The ball ricocheted fortuitously into the path of Stefano Fiore and the Italy international showed great composure to loft the ball over Victor Valdes.
Worse was to come for Valdes on 73 minutes when his attempted clearance hit Miguel Angel Angulo and the Barca keeper retrieved the ball just outside his area.
The young shot-stopper was left seeing red, despite his protestations.
But the sending off spurred Barcelona forward and they drew level five minutes later - courtesy of a dubious penalty.
Ronaldinho seemed to be fairly brushed off the ball by Angulo, but a spot kick was bizarrely given and the Brazilian made no mistake in sending Canizares the wrong way.
Deco and Canizares clashed in the goal after the penalty while there was an unsavoury climax to the match, as tempers became increasingly frayed.
For long periods at El Sardinero, Real looked like they would lose further ground on dominant leaders Barcelona, but they produced a spirited fightback to nick the points in Santander.
Yossi Benayoun's close range header on 23 minutes put Racing ahead before Michael Owen displayed his predatory instincts to head Real level on 35 minutes.
But Racing were deservedly back in front on 51 minutes when the impressive Benayoun turned creator for Javi Guerrero to sidefoot home from 12 yards out.
Raul was then denied by Racing keeper Dudu Awat before the Real icon hauled his side level again on 61 minutes through a typical poacher's goal.
The hosts would not bow down to their more illustrious opponents and Mario Regueiro put the ball wide after Iker Casillas failed to hold Guerrero's shot.
Owen had a goal unjustly disallowed for offside, but Casillas produced a magnificent flying save to thwart Mehdi Nafti.
With the match settling down for a draw, Real grasped one final chance when Luis Figo's corner was headed back into the danger zone for Zidane to nod into the roof of the net.
Albacete temporarily moved out of the relegation zone after a battling 1-1 draw at Levante.
With Getafe and Malaga not playing until Sunday, Albacete took advantage to move up two places in the table.
It could have been even better for the visitors when Gaspar Galvez put Albacete in the lead after 29 minutes.
But Levante, who currently sit in a comfortable mid-table position, responded to claim an equaliser on 41 minutes through Jose Culebras.
Click here for the Primera Liga table.