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Atletico regain advantage

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  • Atletico regain advantage

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

    Atletico Madrid regained their three-point lead at the top of the Primera Division table on Sunday, although their 2-0 derby win over nine-man Getafe was not a performance to savour.

    Diego Simeone's men struggled to break down their Madrid rivals, who are battling for survival, with Diego Godin's goal the only highlight of a poor first half.

    Not even the dismissals of Angel Lafita and Alexis could inspire the leaders, who saw Diego Costa miss a penalty before making amends with a goal late on, although the Brazil-born striker suffered a worrying-looking injury for his efforts and left the field on a stretcher.

    Despite the scrappy performance, the win has handed Atletico the advantage once more in the race to win the title, while Getafe remain one point shy of safety.

    Real Madrid took advantage of a slip up by Barcelona to put pressure on Atletico on Saturday night.

    While Los Blancos cantered to a 4-0 win over Almeria at the Santiago Bernabeu, Barca slipped to a shock defeat at Granada that could prove to be a crushing blow to their title bid.

    Goals from Angel Di Maria, Gareth Bale, Isco and Alvaro Morata sealed Real's third successive win in La Liga - a run which has seen them score 13 unanswered goals.

    Barcelona's defeat completed a nightmare week for the Catalan club after being dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico.

    The match was settled by a solitary goal by Yacine Brahimi after 15 minutes, the Algerian racing through a Barca defence containing no natural centre-backs and scoring past Jose Manuel Pinto.

    The visitors, who began without midfield metronome Xavi and first-choice full-backs Dani Alves and Jordi Alba, were unable to respond - thwarted on a number of occasions by Granada's outstanding goalkeeper Orestis Karnesis, who was making only his second start of the season.

    On Sunday, Valencia extended their unbeaten run to three matches with a 2-1 victory over Elche.

    Goals from Pablo Piatti and Dani Parejo won the game for the home side either side of Ferran Corominas' equaliser, while Damian Suarez missed a penalty deep into the second half for the visitors.

    Diego Colotto grabbed a late equaliser for Espanyol as they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Rayo Vallecano.

    Christian Stuani handed the home side an early lead but goals from Iago Falque and Joaquin Larrivey either side of half-time turned the game on its head before Colotto struck with two minutes to play.

    The result moves Rayo a step closer to safety as they now sit six points clear of the drop zone while Espanyol are safely in mid-table.

    Real Betis sunk deeper into the relegation mire with a cruel 2-0 defeat against fierce rivals Sevilla, the hosts unable to recover after Juan Carlos' harsh first-half red card.

    Juan Carlos was sent off after 28 minutes after being adjudged to have fouled Carlos Bacca in an incident which led to Kevin Gameiro opening the scoring from the penalty spot.

    Gameiro sealed the win eight minutes from time with a close-range finish, leaving Betis 10 points from safety with just five games of the season remaining.

    On Saturday, Celta Vigo came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw from a dramatic game with Real Sociedad, despite playing the second half with 10 men.

    Sergio Canales gave the Basques an early lead that was cancelled out by Nolito from the penalty spot after 38 minutes.

    Antoine Griezmann put the visitors back in front with a thumping finish a couple of minutes before half-time and the afternoon got worse for Luis Enrique's side when Jon Aurtenetxe's rash tackle on Carlos Vela was punished by a red card in the 46th minute.

    However, substitute Santi Mina levelled with eight minutes to go for Celta Vigo.

    Jeremy Perbet headed a winner deep in stoppage-time to beat Levante 1-0 and keep alive Villarreal's hopes of securing automatic qualification for the Europa League.

    The game looked to be heading for a dour goalless draw well into the 95th minute, when Perbet nodded Manuel Trigueros' right-wing cross into the bottom corner of Keylor Navas' net.

    Relegation rivals Osasuna and Real Valladolid had to settle for a point apiece in a low-quality encounter in Pamplona on Friday night.

    Alvaro Cejudo's long-range effort which hit the crossbar early on for Osasuna was as close as either side went to breaking the deadlock, but the draw did little to help either side's battle against the drop.The visitors moved one point clear of the bottom three ahead of the weekend's games, with their opponents just one place and two points better off.