Granada’s Mainz scores for both sides in draw with Sevilla
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Granada defender Diego Mainz scored goals for both teams in a 1-1 draw against visiting Sevilla in the Spanish league on Sunday.
Villarreal was also held to a 0-0 draw by last-place Cordoba as both failed to break their respective winless runs, while Celta Vigo won 1-0 at Eibar and Rayo Vallecano beat Almeria to stay in the middle of the table.
Granada went ahead against the run of play in the 16th minute when Mainz shed his marker and had time to place a header from a corner kick into the far side of the net.
The teams traded scoring opportunities before Sevilla coach Unai Emery sent on Ever Banega and winger Aleix Vidal and played with a three-man defense from the 62nd.
Sevilla immediately improved and got its equalizer in the 69th when Vidal worked a one-two passing combination with Jose Antonio Reyes to break free on the right flank before he sent in a low cross that Mainz deflected into his own net.
Neither side got the result it needed. Granada was left in second-to-last place, three points from safety with six games left.
Sevilla, meanwhile, wasted a chance to pull level with fourth-place Valencia, which it trails by two points in their fight for the last Champions League berth.
“We controlled the game for long stretches and created scoring chances, and I think that if anyone deserved to win it was us,” Emery said. “Our options for fourth place are intact. Logically, we would have gotten closer with a victory, but we continue on our path with the same excitement and our fans behind us.”
Sevilla next turns back to the Europa League, where the titleholders are set to travel to Zenit St. Petersburg on Thursday with a 2-1 advantage in their quarterfinal.
Villarreal dominated the home match against Cordoba and was only kept from scoring by the woodwork and Juan Carlos Martin’s inspired goalkeeping.
Villarreal’s Joel Campbell and Gerard Moreno both sent long strikes off the goalframe, while Martin bounced back from his poor showing last round that earned him jeers from his home fans by making nine saves. Four of those saves came in the final 15 minutes, with Martin denying Campbell three times while also getting low to parry Victor Ruiz’s header in the 87th.
Villarreal remained in sixth after eight games without a win, while Cordoba’s 14th round without a win left it eight points from safety.
Celta scored when Manuel “Nolito” Agudo converted a penalty five minutes before halftime after Eibar’s Didac Vila tripped Santi Mina in the area.
Vila almost responded with a long strike that rattled the bar four minutes from time.
Earlier in Madrid, Ze Castro crossed for fellow center back Antonio Amaya to head in Rayo’s first goal in the 23rd.
Almeria threatened to level until Gael Kakuta dribbled through the area and chipped the ball for substitute Nicolas “Miku” Ladislao to net from close range in the 90th.
Almeria was left on the brink of the relegation zone after its fifth consecutive loss on the road.