Barcelona’s record 16-match winning run in the Primera Division came to an end tonight as they were held to a 1-1 draw by lowly Sporting Gijon.
The result also meant Barcelona failed to win away in the Primera Division for the first time this season.
Relegation-threatened Sporting took the lead through a fine David Barral effort after 16 minutes, and it looked as if they may hold on for a shock victory until David Villa’s sublime chip against his former club rescued a point for the Catalans.
Joaquin Sanchez scored both goals as Valencia hit back from going a goal down early on to defeat Atletico Madrid 2-1, whose miserable start to 2011 shows no sign of abating.
Atletico had lost their previous four matches without managing a single goal to leave coach Quique Sanchez Flores under increasing pressure, but they gained an early advantage when Jose Antonio Reyes put them ahead after just three minutes.
However, the Rojiblancos could not keep hold of the lead and Valencia drew level just before the break through Joaquin.
Diego Forlan then missed a penalty for Atletico at the start of the second half before Valencia claimed all three points when captain Joaquin netted their winner four minutes from time.
Atletico lost centre-back Diego Godin to a straight red card after that, capping another miserable night for the capital club, who have now lost six of their last seven league and cup games.