La Liga title race on: Atleti drops more points, Real Madrid looming
La Liga’s weekend should serve as a reminder to Manchester City that even seemingly insurmountable advantages can be overcome in short order.
Atletico Madrid dropped points for the third time in four matches to open up the hopes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, even if the latter didn’t take full advantage of the opportunity presented by the leaders.
Atleti fell 2-0 at home to Levante ahead of their midweek Champions League visit from Chelsea, dropping four of six points to a side that started the week in the bottom half.
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The leaders’ 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo on Feb. 8 saw them hold an eight-point lead on second-place Barcelona with a match-in-hand on Ronald Koeman’s bunch.
But that point is one of just five claimed by Diego Simeone’s Atleti since then, while Barca has claimed 10 of its last 12, Sevilla 12 of 12, and Real Madrid 12 of 12.
By the time Sevilla finishes a Monday fixture with Osasuna, there could be four teams within shouting distance of the title race with 15 weeks left in Spain.
Real Valladolid 0-1 Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s league clean sheet streak reached 312 minutes after a Casemiro goal gave the reigning La Liga champions a gritty 1-0 win at the home of bottom three Valladolid.
Zinedine Zidane’s men are three points back of their Madrid derby rivals, who have played one fewer match leading into a tough three-match stretch.
Real heads to Atalanta for Wednesday’s Champions League Round of 16 first leg before hosting Real Sociedad on March 1 and visiting Atleti on March 7.
Barcelona 1-1 Cadiz
Alex Fernandez’s late penalty was Cadiz’s only shot on target but the visitors won’t care after claiming a remarkable point at the Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi’s first-half penalty was the only one of 20 Barcelona shots to find the goal despite a remarkable 81 percent possession against the newly-promoted upstarts.
Cadiz had lost four-straight but may well stay up on the power of surprising results like this and an October win at Real Madrid.
How did the game look? The green is Barcelona.