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Feb 2nd, 2014
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• Martino worried after Barcelona beaten by Valencia
• Neil Lennon spat on at Tynecastle, says agent

Valencia defeat leaves Martino ‘very worried’

Ten-man Barcelona suffered their first home defeat of the season when they crashed 3-2 against Valencia on Saturday, leaving the door open for Madrid rivals Atlético and Real to take advantage. They remain top of La Liga on 54 points, but Atlético Madrid, who trail on goal difference, can go ahead of them with a draw against Real Sociedad on Sunday, as can Real Madrid, a point behind, with a win over Athletic Bilbao.

Alexis Sánchez put Barcelona ahead early on, but strikes either side of half time by Daniel Parejo and Pablo Piatti put Valencia 2-1 up. Lionel Messi equalised with a penalty on 54 minutes before Francisco Alcácer’s winner. Jordi Alba was dismissed for a second yellow card with 12 minutes left. Barcelona have one win from their last four La Liga matches, leaving coach Gerardo Martino concerned. “Despite us having played well for a while, I’m very worried, much like the players are,” he said. Agencies

Spain mourns Aragonés

Luis Aragonés, the coach who led Spain to victory at Euro 2008, has died at the age of 75. Aragonés was a prominent and sometimes controversial figure – notoriously sparking controversy with a racist jibe at Thierry Henry in 2004 – but was also a successful coach at club level, leading Atlético Madrid to a La Liga title in 1977 as well as three Copas del Rey. Reports in the Spanish media said Aragonés had been admitted to a Madrid clinic in the early hours of Saturday morning but died soon after.

Atlético posted a tribute on their website, and will mark his death with a minute’s silence before today’s match. The statement read: “One of the greatest Rojiblancas legends has left us. There have been condolences from around the footballing world. Our president, Enrique Cerezo, expressed his sorrow saying: ‘Luis Aragonés was a great player and coach, but above all a great person and a friend. On behalf of the whole club, I want to express our condolences to his family’.” Aragonés won three league titles with Atlético between 1964 and 1974 and also representing Spain 11 times before hanging up his boots. He took charge of the national team in 2004 and was immediately the subject of controversy when he was caught on camera using racist language about Thierry Henry in a training ground conversation with Arsenal’s José Antonio Reyes, saying: “Tell that black shit that you are much better than him.” He was fined £2,060 by the RFEF for the incident, but later had it overturned and insisted he was not a racist.

Aragonés went on to led Spain to their first major title in 44 years at Euro 2008 the start of a hat-trick of tournament triumphs that continued under his successor, Vicente Del Bosque, at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. An ill-fated spell at Turkish side Fenerbahce followed, which came to an end in the summer of 2009, before Aragonés officially announced his retirement in December last year – four years after leaving his final coaching post. Reuters

Lennon ‘spat on’ at match

The Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, was reportedly spat on while watching Aberdeen’s League Cup semi-final against St Johnstone at Tynecastle. Lennon’s agent, Martin Reilly, told BBC Scotland that Lennon had coins thrown at him and was spat upon during the game.It is understood Lennon walked out of the stadium shortly after Adam Rooney scored the third goal in the 62nd minute of Aberdeen’s 4-0 victory. Lennon was sitting in the main stand, yards above the technical area where he was attacked by a Hearts fan during a game in 2011. The stand was housing Aberdeen fans in yesterday’s game. PA

Tony Hateley dies at 72

The former Liverpool striker Tony Hateley, signed by Bill Shankly from Chelsea for a club-record fee of £96,000 in 1967, has died at the age of 72. Hateley scored 28 goals in 56 games for Liverpool, and also played for Aston Villa, Coventry, Birmingham and Notts County. His son, Mark Hateley, later played for England.

His grandson Tom, the former Motherwell and Tranmere player, wrote on Twitter: “Very sad to hear my dadda Tony passed away today.”

Gary Lineker said: “Sorry to hear of the death of Tony Hateley. Played with his son, Mark, for England, met Tony. A wonderful football family.” PA

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