Sporting drop points at home in 1-1 draw with Espanyol

Indo Asian News Service

Gijon (Spain), April 26 (IANS) Sporting played a 1-1 draw with Espanyol, missing out on two points that would have bolstered their dwindling hopes of avoiding relegation from La Liga.

The sides sparred in midfield for the opening minutes of the match at Gijon's El Molinon stadium here on Tuesday.

Chances developed for both squads as the minutes passed, but neither seemed capable of seizing the initiative until the 38th minute, when Victor Rodriguez put Sporting ahead 1-0 with a direct free kick that surprised the Espanyol goaltender and defenders, reports Efe.

Espanyol lost Felipe Caicedo for the night after the Brazilian striker collided with Sporting keeping Cuellar while both were chasing a loose ball.

The visitors dominated early in the second half and Jurado botched a chance to equalise, but Gerard Moreno made no mistake in the 54th minute when a great ball from Leo Batistao -- Caicedo's replacement -- found him alone in front of the Sporting net.

Minutes later, Duje Cop inexplicably missed a chance to put Sporting back in the lead.

The hosts mounted a late charge, but were unable to get the vital second goal.

Espanyol, with 50 points from 34 matches, sit in ninth place. Sporting, who have only 24 points, remain mired in 18th, three points from safety.