Italian international striker Giuseppe Rossi scored his eighth league goal of the campaign to rescue a point for Villarreal in a 1-1 home draw with local rivals Valencia today.
Villarreal saw their 100 per cent home record at El Madrigal come to an end, however, Rossi's 73rd minute volley salvaged a point and Villarreal stay three points ahead of Valencia in third, although they are five points behind leaders Real Madrid, who also have a game in hand.
Aritz Aduriz had put Valencia into a 20th minute lead to give Valencia the intitiative and the visitors frustrated the home side before Rossi produced a clinical volley to clinch a point.
Valencia had defender Marius Stankevicius sent off for a second booking on 80 minutes but held on for a point and now prepare for Wednesday's UEFA Champions League home match with Bursaspor.
Villarreal had won all five of their home matches in the league prior to the Valencia match but suffered a 20th minute setback when Aduriz put Valencia ahead. Dutch midfielder Hedwiges Maduro launched a counter attack with a great pass to release Joaquin down the right.
Joaquin centred and Aduriz's shot was deflected in by Argentinian centre-back Gonzalo Castro as Villarreal conceded only their second goal at home in the league.
Valencia defender Ricardo Costa should have made it 2-0 on the half hour when he arrived unmarked at a free-kick but his header went disappointingly wide.
Villarreal picked up their game in the second half and Rossi produced a fine cushioned volley to convert Bruno Grau's cross on 73 minutes and Brazilian international Nilmar could have won it for the hosts late on.