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Monday, July 22, 2024

Atletico close gap on Real Madrid in La Liga


Atletico Madrid remain third but moved to within two points of Real Madrid in La Liga thanks to a 2-1 win away to Rayo Vallecano in a Madrid derby on Sunday night.

Goals from defenders Nahuel Molina and Mario Hermoso after 21 and 23 minutes put the game swiftly under Atletico’s control, with Molina dedicating his goal to striker Angel Correa, whose father died earlier in the week.

Rayo’s task was made harder when defender Florien Lejeune was sent off for hauling down Alvaro Morata with half an hour to play.

Fran Garcia’s powerful left-foot shot in the 84th minute gave Rayo hope of a point, but Atletico held firm for their ninth league win in 11 games.

On Saturday, Real Madrid were beaten 3-2 at home by Villarreal to lose any slim hopes of retaining the title.

Samuel Chukwueze scored twice and assisted as Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti made several changes to his side ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League tie at home to Chelsea.

Madrid twice led through a Pau Torres own goal and Vinicius Jr, but Chukwueze leveled and then set up Jose Luis Morales before scoring a magnificent late winner.

Mikel Oyarzabal and Take Kubo gave Real Sociedad a straightforward 2-0 win at home to Getafe, with Oyarzabal also seeing a penalty saved at 0-0.

On Sunday, Betis suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat at home to Cadiz, who scored a 52nd-minute penalty from Ruben Alcaraz and followed it with a second goal from Chris Ramos six minutes later. Betis ended the game with nine men on a disastrous afternoon after Sergio Canales was sent off for a professional foul in the first half, and Aitor Ruibal saw red for aggression a minute after Cadiz’s second goal.

Osasuna qualified for the final of the Copa del Rey for only the second time in their history in midweek, and their good week continued as two second-half goals from Eze Abde saw them come back from a goal down to beat bottom-of-the-table Elche 2-1.

Athletic Club Bilbao claimed their first away win against Espanyol in 25 years thanks to goals from Inaki and Nico Williams.

Athletic dominated the game, and Espanyol’s goal came in the last minute as Sergi Darder poked home after an error from Unai Simon.

Paulo Pezzolano had a rollercoaster debut as Valladolid coach as his side drew 3-3 away to Mallorca.

Kike Perez put Valladolid ahead in the 33rd minute, only for Vedat Muriqi and Manu Morlanes to put Mallorca ahead in the 53rd and 58th minutes. Salim Amallah and Monchu then looked to have won the game for Valladolid, but a late penalty from Muriqi after a handball saw the game end 3-3.

Almeria’s 2-1 win at home to Valencia lifted them out of the relegation zone while dumping Valencia back into the bottom three.

Gonzalo Melero and Srdan Babic put Almeria 2-0 up with goals in the 48th and 57th minutes of the game, and the home side hung on for three vital points after Samu Castellejo’s left-foot shot for Valencia on the hour.

On Friday, Celta scored two late goals to frustrate a battling performance from Sevilla, who played with 10 men for 70 minutes after Pape Gueye was harshly sent off for his second yellow card.

Youssef En-Nesyri headed Sevilla ahead in the 42nd minute, and Marcos Acuna’s 80th-minute thunderbolt looked to have assured the points before headers from Miguel Rodriguez after 88 minutes, and Paciencia in the fourth minute of added time saved a point for Celta, with Acuna then sent off for a comment to the referee.

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