• La Liga

Atletico blow chance to knock Barca off top spot

ESPN staff
January 19, 2014
Atletico rue missed opportunity

Atletico Madrid missed the chance to knock Barcelona off the top of La Liga after Seville scored a late penalty to hold them to a 1-1 draw at the Vicente Calderon.

Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw of their own at Levante, leaving the door open for Atletico to go two points clear.

Atletico started brightly when David Villa rifled in a clearance by Sevilla goalkeeper Beto in the 18th minute.

But Atletico didn't seriously threaten to extend their advantage and were undone when defender Juanfran pulled Sevilla striker Carlos Bacca down by his shirt in the area.

Ivan Rakitic fired the spot kick into the corner of the net, just out of the reach of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for the 73rd-minute equaliser.

Sevilla finished with 10 men when Alberto Moreno was sent off with a straight red card for a low tackle in the 90th minute. It was just the second time Atletico have dropped points at home this season.

Earlier on, Levante went ahead against Barcelona through Loukas Vyntra's 10th-minute header from a corner kick, and their staunch defence did enough to take a measure of vengeance for the 7-0 thrashing the Catalan club dealt them in the season opener.

Gerard Pique made up for his slack marking for Levante's goal by levelling for Barcelona in the 19th minute, jumping highest to redirect Xavi's corner inside the far post.

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