Valencia’s poor run continues

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TOUGH TO CONTAIN: AC Milan forward Filippo Inzaghi celebrates with David Beckham after scoring one of his three goals against Atalanta on Sunday.
TOUGH TO CONTAIN: AC Milan forward Filippo Inzaghi celebrates with David Beckham after scoring one of his three goals against Atalanta on Sunday.

Madrid: Valencia’s troubles increased when it slumped to a 2-1 loss at last-place Numancia and stretched its winless Spanish league run to five games on Sunday.

Valencia, which cannot afford to pay its players and was eliminated from the UEFA Cup last month, received an early boost when Vicente Rodriguez scored in the ninth minute with a long-range shot which was fumbled by goalkeeper Juan Pablo Colinas. However, Valencia’s defence allowed Carlos Aranda to swivel and fire in Numancia’s equaliser from close-range in the 41st minute and Jose Javier Barkero drilled in the 52nd-minute winner through Valencia’s wall from a free-kick.

Numancia’s victory ended a seven-game losing streak and dropped Valencia out of the top six places which provide teams with European berths next season.

Filippo Inzaghi scored a hat-trick as AC Milan bounced back from recent struggles with a 3-0 win over Atalanta in Serie A and leading scorer Marco Di Vaio also found the net three times as Bologna beat Sampdoria 3-0 on Sunday.

Milan was ousted from the UEFA Cup by Werder Bremen last week and was also beaten by Sampdoria. Inzaghi put Milan in front seven minutes in, doubled the lead in the 71st and then scored again three minutes later.

“He gave us a big hand in a delicate game,” Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said of Inzaghi. “We were in an emergency and now we hope that with this victory the emergency is finished.”

Milan consolidated its third-place position in the standings with 51 points. Inter Milan leads with 63 points and Juventus is second with 56. Fourth-place Fiorentina (46 points) was beaten 2-0 at home by Palermo, which got goals from Fabio Simplicio and Fabrizio Miccoli.

The results: La Liga: Deportivo La Coruna 5 (Rodriguez 25, Riki 50, 59, Lafita 58, Verdu 68) bt Racing Santander 3 (Pereira 1, Zigic 32, Berrocal 79); Real Mallorca 3 (Castro 71, 82, Webo 74) drew with Real Betis 3 (Gonzalez 26, Aurelio 29, Arzu 68); Osasuna 1 (Nekounam 28-pen) lost to Sporting Gijon 2 (Barral 7, Castro 18).

Numancia 2 (Aranda 41, Barkero 52) bt Valencia 1 (Vicente 9); Recreativo Huelva 2 (Colunga 25-pen, Camunas 87) lost to Valladolid 3 (Sesma 7, Goitom 21, 48); Sevilla 2 (Kanoute 5, Renato 62) bt Almeria 1 (Negredo 70-pen); Getafe 1 (Contra 74) lost to Malaga 2 (Eliseu 30, Baha 45).

Serie A: AC Milan 3 (Inzaghi 7, 71, 74) bt Atalanta 0; Bologna 3 (Di Vaio 45, 87, 90) bt Sampdoria 0; Catania 0 lost to Siena 3 (Maccarone 9, Ghezzal 69, Jarolim 90).

Chievo 1 (Makinwa 56) drew with Cagliari 1 (Jeda 28); Fiorentina 0 lost to Palermo 2 (Simplicio 48, Miccoli 56); Lecce 0 drew with 0; Napoli 0 lost to Lazio 2 (Rocchi 57, 65). — Agencies

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