Barcelona regain top spot despite Valencia stalemate

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The Independent Online

Barcelona returned to the top of La Liga last night despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Valencia at the Nou Camp.

The visitors took the lead in the first half when David Villa slid in to score from close range, but the champions equalised through substitute Andres Iniesta.

Maxi Rodriguez scored two late goals yesterday to give Atletico Madrid a 2-1 win over nine-man Sevilla, ending the visitors' perfect start to the season. The loss left Sevilla in fourth place and ended an 11-game winning streak which included last season's Uefa Cup final.

Villarreal recorded their first win of the season, with former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan among the goalscorers in their 3-2 defeat of Real Zaragoza.

Real Madrid have confirmed that Cicinho will need an operation after tearing the cruciate ligament in his right knee. Cicinho's team-mate David Beckham was also absent from training yesterday morning following Saturday night's 1-0 defeat of Real Betis. The former England captain, who played as a substitute against Betis, has been ordered to rest after being diagnosed with a virus. He was a substitute for the second successive game - the first time that has happened since he moved to Madrid in 2003 - and replaced Jose Antonio Reyes in the 67th minute. His first contribution was to receive a yellow card for diving after tumbling too easily on the edge of the Betis penalty area.

In a game of few decent goalscoring opportunities, Mahamadou Diarra's header after seven minutes settled the contest in favour of Fabio Capello's men.

In Italy yesterday Hernan Crespo scored twice to help Internazionale beat Chievo 4-3 and move into first place in Serie A.

Crespo beat the offside trap to put Inter ahead in the 11th minute at the San Siro, then sealed the match in the 70th from a pass by Adriano. Defender Walter Samuel and midfielder Dejan Stankovic also scored for Inter. Chievo came back with three goals in the final 15 minutes with goals by Sergio Pellissier - from the penalty spot - Simone Tiribocchi and Matteo Brighi.

Milan lost their 100 per cent winning start to the season when they drew 0-0 at Livorno on Saturday.

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