Actual Madrid are again inside touching distance of the highest of La Liga after they punished one other Atletico Madrid slip in opposition to Levante on Saturday by beating Actual Valladolid 1-0. Atletico had the possibility to stretch their result in 11 factors this week by profitable back-to-back video games in opposition to Levante however as a substitute they adopted a 1-1 draw on Wednesday with a shock 2-0 loss, which means a five-point benefit grew to become solely six. Actual Madrid cranked up the stress once more by edging to a win over struggling Actual Valladolid, Casemiro’s second-half header reducing the hole to simply three factors, albeit with Atletico nonetheless proudly owning a recreation in hand.
“It is not as a result of Atletico misplaced. We consider we will win the league,” stated Casemiro.
“There are nonetheless 42 factors left, that is lots of factors.”
The swing in momentum comes at a nasty time for Atletico, who face Chelsea within the Champions League on Tuesday, and it feels vital given it has coincided with a resurgence, in La Liga no less than, for his or her chasing rivals.
Actual Madrid’s victory on the Jose Zorilla Stadium was their fourth in a row, three of these coming with clear sheets, which suggests a return to type for a defence that every one however clinched them the title final season.
Zinedine Zidane’s aspect have finished it with out a number of key gamers too. Karim Benzema is the most recent absentee via harm, becoming a member of the likes of Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal on the sidelines.
Benzema is struggling to be slot in time for Actual Madrid’s Champions League recreation away at Atalanta on Wednesday.
“It’s higher, we’ll see tomorrow, however we’re not going to danger something,” stated Zidane.
It meant a uncommon begin for Mariano Diaz up entrance in opposition to Valladolid, whereas Isco was the one senior participant on the bench.
Barcelona, in the meantime, play at residence to Cadiz on Sunday when Ronald Koeman’s aspect will probably be hoping to ease the ache of the Champions League thrashing by Paris Saint-Germain in midweek with an eighth consecutive win in La Liga.
Victory would put them six factors behind Atletico.
Atletico undone by Levante
Atleti’s defeat was solely their second within the league this season and their first on the Wanda Metropolitano in any competitors since Barca beat them there in December 2019.
They’ve now gone seven league video games with no clear sheet, their longest run since Simeone grew to become coach in 2011, and their hopes of tightening up is not going to be helped by an harm to Jose Gimenez, who hobbled off and will not be match to face Chelsea.
“League campaigns are all the time the identical, with large moments, difficulties, obstacles, for everybody, not just for Atletico Madrid,” Simeone stated. “The groups which might be robust in these moments are those that can obtain their targets.”
As a result of rearranged fixtures, they had been dealing with Levante for the second time in 4 days and Levante proved their attract midweek was no fluke, even when they needed to survive 28 Atletico photographs earlier than the ultimate whistle blew.
Luis Suarez went closest to discovering an equaliser, his bending free-kick within the second half coming again off the put up. Suarez has now gone three league video games with out scoring for the primary time this season.
Jose Luis Morales had already put Levante in entrance with a deflected end off Felipe and whereas Atletico huffed and puffed, they had been unable to discover a well past Levante’s impressed goalkeeper Dani Cardenas.
Cardenas made 10 saves, essentially the most from any La Liga keeper with out conceding this time period.
Atletico’s goalkeeper Jan Oblak then went up for a nook in injury-time, leaving Jorge de Frutos to make it two from the midway line by launching into an open internet.
“Within the first half we had been flat,” stated Simeone. “Within the second we created lots of probabilities, Suarez hit the put up — there was lots of positives to take.”
For an hour, it appeared like Actual Madrid may endure comparable frustration in opposition to a decided Valladolid, who would have led had it not been for a string of wonderful saves by Thibaut Courtois.
Courtois needed to pull off a double cease to disclaim Fabian Orellana and Saidy Janko within the first half after which within the second blocked Orellana, who had been bizarrely arrange by Ferland Mendy launching a ball throughout his personal penalty space.
The Belgian saved Madrid in it after which Casemiro put them in entrance. Casemiro had been allowed two free headers already by Valladolid’s defence and he pounced on the third alternative, nodding in Toni Kroos’ free-kick to present Actual Madrid hope.
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