Atletico Madrid still chase Barca

A review of the weekend's action in the Spanish Primera Division, including three points for Atletico Madrid.

Last Updated: 03/11/13 at 22:38 Post Comment

Diego Costa scored as Atletico Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao.

Diego Costa scored as Atletico Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao.

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A review of the weekend's action in the Spanish Primera Division.

Atletico Madrid kept the pressure on Primera Division leaders Barcelona by comfortably beating Athletic Bilbao 2-0 thanks to first-half goals from Diego Costa and David Villa.

It was Diego Simeone's side sixth consecutive win at the Vicente Calderon and it means they remain just one point behind the champions.

Athletic, meanwhile, went into the game just one point off the fourth Champions League spot but produced another disappointing away display and were reduced to 10 men late on when Erik Moran was sent off.

Substitute Samuel Garcia struck a dramatic late winner to earn Malaga a much-welcomed 3-2 victory over Andalusian rivals Real Betis.

Samuel netted midway through six minutes of stoppage time to give Malaga the lead for the third time in the match and this time battling Betis could not find a response as Bernd Schuster's men picked up their first win in six matches.

To add insult to injury for Betis, the extra time was added because of a serious-looking head blow suffered by their centre-back Damien Perquis at the start of the second half that required lengthy treatment before he was taken away in an ambulance.

The loss of Perquis and Samuel's late clincher soured what had been a promising performance from Betis, who had twice fought back from goals down to level at 2-2 and had chances to get more.

Roque Santa Cruz, playing against his former club, and Eliseu Pereira twice put Malaga ahead in either half but Betis levelled through Joan Verdu and Jordi Figueras, only for the visitors to end up empty-handed right at the end.

Valencia ended a three-game losing streak by securing a narrow 1-0 win at Getafe .

Dorlan Pabon's rocket late in the first half was enough to give under-fire coach Miroslav Djukic some breathing space.

Piti made a dramatic return to action as his brilliant last-gasp free-kick earned Granada a shock 1-0 victory over Levante at the Ciutat de Valencia.

Piti, who scored 18 goals for Rayo Vallecano last term, missed the last two games through injury but he climbed off the bench in the 78th minute on Sunday before curling home a stoppage-time winner from 25 yards out.

That helped Granada follow in the footsteps of Barcelona and Real Madrid as the only clubs to have beaten Levante this season and denied their opponents the chance to move level with fourth-placed Villarreal on 20 points.

In the final game of the weekend, a last-gasp goal from Garcia Samu gave Malaga a 3-2 victory over Real Betis.

On Saturday, Cristiano Ronaldo added a brace to his midweek hat-trick as Real Madrid survived a major second-half scare to defeat derby rivals Rayo Vallecano 3-2 and remain within six points of leaders Barcelona.

After a hugely impressive attacking display in their 7-3 mauling of Sevilla on Wednesday, Madrid looked set for another goal glut as their forward trio of Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale again came to the fore.

Ronaldo, who netted three against Sevilla, opened the scoring early on and then Bale set up further goals for Benzema and Ronaldo again as Madrid stormed into a 3-0 lead after 48 minutes.

However, Carlo Ancelotti's men were then stunned as Rayo won, and converted, two penalties in three minutes from Jonathan Viera to set up a thrilling final half-hour in which the home side hit the woodwork and came close on a number of other occasions.

Real Sociedad gave themselves the perfect lift ahead of next week's Champions League clash with Manchester United by thrashing Osasuna 5-0 at home.

Jon Ansotegui headed the hosts in front after 33 minutes, while Inigo Martinez doubled the lead, heading in a corner two minutes into the second half.

Jordan Loties made things even harder for Javi Gracia's side when he was sent off shortly after the second goal, while Antoine Griezmann later added the third, appearing at the back post to head in a corner.

With 10 minutes remaining Chory Castro increased the damage, and then Haris Seferovic completed the rout on 87 minutes.

Elsewhere, Almeria striker Rodri scored a highly-contested goal with his hand to give his side all three points in a 1-0 win against Real Valladolid.

The Barcelona B loanee decided the game by netting the only goal shortly before half-time, but Valladolid were incensed it was allowed to stand.

Celta Vigo were also victorious as they claimed a 1-0 win over Sevilla after Alex Lopez capitalised on an error by goalkeeper Beto.

The Sevilla keeper made a hash of a clearance to put the ball at the feet of the Celta midfielder, who then beat him one-on-one to fire home in the 47th minute.

On Friday, Gerardo Martino ensured he completed his first 100 days as Barcelona coach without defeat, albeit thanks to a subdued 1-0 win over Espanyol at the Nou Camp.

Barca had to wait until the 68th minute to break down their city rivals when Alexis Sanchez was left with a simple tap-in after clever work from Neymar.

It was a rare incisive moment from Barca but enough to ensure they opened a four-point gap at the top.


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think all those names linked to United exits make sense. Kagawa has never really looked like hitting the form he had at Dortmund and Fellaini is radioactive after last season (even though I think he's been unfairly singled out for criticism). Nani and Anderson have had more than their fair share of chances so they are done, and Hernandez deserves better than warming a bench.

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