Barcelona held to unlucky draw; Atletico Madrid beaten

Other News Materials 14 September 2008 03:43 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) Spain's season of surprises continued Saturday with Barcelona being held to a 1-1 draw by defensive Barcelona and with Atletico Madrid beaten 2-1 by 10-man Valladolid.

Barca deserved to win, but as in their debut against Numancia lacked finesse in attack.

Lionel Messi gave Barca the lead in the 71st minute from the penalty spot, only for Jonathan Pereira to make it 1-1 six minutes later with Santander's first shot.

Barca have made their worst start since 1973 with just one point after two games, and the pressure is already building on new coach Josep Guardiola.

"It was incredible that we didn't win tonight," said striker Samuel Eto'o, who turned in another flat display.

The game was preceded by a minute's silence for 1950s Barca captain Joan Segarra, who died last week.

Guardiola raised eyebrows by fielding youngsters Pedro Dominguez and Sergi Busquets instead of Messi and Thierry Henry.

Barca should have taken the lead at the start of the second half, when Daniel Alves hit the crossbar and Andres Iniesta had a clear penalty turned down.

They were finally given a penalty in the 70th minute for handball by Christian Fernandez.

Messi calmly converted, but the goal obliged Santander to come out of their defensive shell. In the 77th minute, Pereira silenced the Camp Nou by making it 1-1, flicking in a low free-kick from Ezequiel Garay.

Pereira then twice came close to giving the visitors a shock win, as Barca fell apart.

Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, were having a horrid time in Valladolid, partly due to the absence of several key players after national team duty.

Veteran Vivar Dorado gave Valladolid the lead after just four minutes. Local defender Pedro Lopez was sent off 20 minutes later, but the hosts went up 2- 0 in the 28th minute from a Javier Baraja penalty kick after a foul on the lively Dorado.

Argentine star Sergio Aguero came off the bench and pulled a goal back for Atletico in the 55th minute, but 10-man Valladolid held out for an important win.

Later Saturday, Sevilla are at home to newly promoted Sporting Gijon.