La Liga: Atletico Madrid stunned by Sevilla as league race blown wide open

Atletico Madrid suffered a 1-0 loss away to Sevilla on Sunday thanks to a goal from Marcos Acuna, leaving them with only a slender lead atop the La Liga standings.

Marcos Acuna celebrates his goal with teammate, Image credit: Facebook/Sevilla FC

Atletico Madrid’s bid to win the La Liga title for the first time since 2014 took a major hit thanks to a 1-0 loss away from home against Sevilla on Sunday. A late goal from left-back Marcos Acuna was enough for the home team to take all three points and leave Diego Simeone’s men floundering, despite them still being atop the league standings. They currently have 66 points, 3 points ahead of rivals Real Madrid (63) and 4 points clear of Barcelona (62). However, Barcelona have the chance of cutting the lead to just a point should they beat Real Valladolid at home later on Monday.

Atletico struggled to find any real rhythm throughout the game and could have been behind much earlier. Goalkeeper Jan Oblak did well to save a penalty in the eighth minute.

Sevilla then hit the cross bar thanks to an effort from Joan Jordan and the visitors looked shaken. They grew into the game as it progressed but Sevilla looked likelier to score and so it proved.

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Acuna met a cross from Jesus Navas in the 70th minute with a well-timed header and sealed the three points.

Handball controversy

Atletico believed the goal should have been ruled out for a handball during the build-up. “It was a clear handball for the goal and there was another handball (by Diego Carlos) which should have been a second yellow card,” said Atletico captain Koke.

“We have VAR which has to be there to help out. Today wasn’t our day. On other days it has favoured us, today it didn’t go our way.”

“This is a tough defeat but we tried everything. We struggled in the first half but in the second we had chances.”

Koke also said that, despite the loss, Atletico remain confident that they will go on to clinch the La Liga title.

“We don’t doubt ourselves at all, this is always a difficult place to go to and anything could have happened. It’s football, we still have our fate in our own hands,” he said.

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Manager Diego Simeone said after the game that he believes the team need to up their intensity. “We need to keep on working and increase our intensity levels as that’s what got us to this stage.

“La Liga’s title race is always tough right until the end of the season but we have to find a way to get the players playing like they were at the start of the season.”

Atletico Madrid’s next league assignment sees them travel to Real Betis. Meanwhile, Real Madrid and Barcelona will square off in a highly-anticipated ‘El Clasico’ clash in the next gameweek.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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