Atletico lose ground on Real

Nine-man Atletico Madrid held at Getafe in Spain's Primera Division as Rayo notch up first away win in six games.

    Atletico lose ground on Real
    Atletico Madrid slipped three points behind second-placed champions Real Madrid after the draw at Getafe [AFP]

    Nine-man Atletico Madrid sputtered to a 0-0 draw at Getafe on Sunday in Spain’s Primera Division, as Diego Simeone's team fell further adrift of Real Madrid in their fight for a second-place finish.

    Atletico have only one win in their last five games and failed to match Madrid's victory from Saturday to fall four points behind the defending champions. Barcelona are cruising to the title 13 points clear.

    After a rough first half plagued by fouls and void of scoring chances, Getafe forward Abdelaziz Barrada managed to draw a diving save from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois three minutes after the break.

    Atletico midfielder Mario Suarez received his second booking in the 72nd minute, and defender Diego Godin followed suit in stoppage time.

    Rayo win

    Elsewhere, Rayo Vallecano and Espanyol both eased to 2-0 away wins. Rayo beat relegation-threatened Celta Vigo with goals by Francisco "Piti'' Medina and Andrija Delibasic.

    Piti used a clever flick with the back of his heel to turn Alhassane "Lass'' Bangoura's pass into the net for his 13th goal of the season in the 14th.

    Celta improved in the second half but failed to threaten Rayo's goal, and Delibasic tapped in Jose Casado's cross to secure all three points in the 83rd.

    Rayo's first away win in six games kept them in the fight for a Europa League spot.

    Rayo coach Paco Jemez called his team's season so far "extraordinary'' for a cash-strapped club that had to sell Miguel "Michu'' Perez last summer and was expected to struggle to stay up.

    "You can always improve and aspire to do things that nobody has done before,'' Jemez said.

    "We have to fight until the end. (Europa League) is within our reach.''

    Celta have taken just one point from the past five games and are three points from safety with eight rounds to play.

    Espanyol won 2-0 at Osasuna after Ghana forward Wakaso Mubarak went on at halftime to set up one goal and score another.

    After Sergio Garcia had forced Osasuna goalkeeper Andres Fernandez to push his strike onto the crossbar, Espanyol broke through in the 51st when Hector Moreno headed in Wakaso's out-swinging corner.

    Wakaso sealed the victory with Osasuna searching for the equaliser in stoppage time when he went past Fernandez outside the area and floated the ball home from a tight angle.

    Espanyol's second straight away win lifted them mid-table, while Osasuna's home losing streak reached three games.

    Barcelona routed Mallorca 5-0 on Saturday without the injured Lionel Messi, while Madrid thrashed Levante 5-1. Real Sociedad stayed in fourth by beating fifth-place Malaga 4-2. Deportivo La Coruna edged Real Zaragoza 3-2.

    Real Betis rolled to a 5-1 win at Granada on Friday. Sevilla hosts Athletic Bilbao Monday.

    SOURCE: AP


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