Beckham dropped to the bench as Madrid fall to third

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The Independent Football

David Beckham was dropped to the bench last night as Real Madrid slipped to third place in La Liga after a 1-1 draw with Getafe. The England captain missed last week's 1-1 draw at home to Real Sociedad because of a rib injury but had trained during the week.

Beckham suffered the injury during the previous week's 1-1 draw at Barcelona, but the Real coach, Juan Ramon Lopez Caro, said the midfielder had not told him about it until the Tuesday following the game.

Julio Baptista gave Real the lead in the 61st minute, but Manuel Tena equalised with six minutes to go. Beckham came on as a second-half substitute and Baptista missed a chance to win the game in injury time from Beckham's free-kick.

With only the top two in La Liga earning a direct place in the Champions' League, Real are now two points behind Valencia in second with five games to play. Valencia defeated Espanyol 4-0 with goals from David Villa, Roberto Ayala, Miguel Angel Ferrer and Ruben Baraja.

Villarreal will face Arsenal in the Champions' League at Highbury on Wednesday without two of their best defenders following Friday night's 1-0 defeat at Barcelona.

Shortly after Samuel Eto'o had scored the only goal of the game, centre-back Gonzalo Rodriguez limped off with torn ankle ligaments, putting him out for the rest of the season. His central defensive colleague, the Bolivia international Juan Pena, who followed him off late in the game with strained knee ligaments, will also miss out on Wednesday.

In France, Lyon made history without kicking a ball on Saturday. Second-placed Bordeaux's 3-2 defeat at Lille meant Gérard Houllier's side, who won 1-0 at Paris St Germain last night with a goal from Fred, could no longer be caught at the top of Ligue 1, making them champions for a record fifth year in a row.

Milan, who meet Barcelona in the Champions' League semi-final tomorrow, beat Internazionale 1-0 on Friday night.

Guus Hiddink signed off as PSV Eindhoven boss in style as his championship-winning side beat NAC Breda 6-2 yesterday, the last day of the Eredivisie season.

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