Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Atletico extend La Liga lead, Real slip with draw at Elche



Atletico extend La Liga lead, Real slip with draw at Elche

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Atletico Madrid forward Luis Suarez (left) scores a header in the La Liga football match against Getafe at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on Wednesday. AFP

Atletico extend La Liga lead, Real slip with draw at Elche

Atletico Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga on December 30 after Luis Suarez fired them to a 1-0 win over Getafe while Real Madrid could only draw 1-1 at Elche.

Suarez struck in the 20th minute with a superb header from Yannick Carrasco’s cross to move Diego Simeone’s Atletico up to 35 points, two ahead of local rivals Madrid after they were pegged back by a Fidel Chaves penalty following Luka Modric’s early opener.

Real Sociedad, Sevilla and Villarreal are all a further seven points back, with Barcelona 10 behind Atletico in sixth after their 1-1 draw with Eibar on December 29.

Atletico have also played two fewer matches than reigning champions Madrid after a scrappy win emblematic of Simeone’s reign on his 500th match as club coach.

“When I got on the plane to come here I thought that when I left the club [as a player] that I always wanted to come back,” said Simeone, who is in his 10th year as Atletico coach.

“I found men [Koke, Saul Niguez] who wanted to get the club out of the bad patch it was in, and I have a relationship with them that goes beyond football.”

Uruguay forward Suarez’s eighth goal of the season was a good as it got for Atletico, who despite fielding a strong line-up did not impress in a match of little incident at the Wanda Metropolitano.

However Atletico’s third straight win keeps them top of the pile after a fraught last few days in which Diego Costa was allowed to leave and Kieran Trippier was banned until the end of February for betting breaches.

‘Two points dropped’

Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid knew that whatever happened in the late fixture they would trail Atletico going into the new year, but they looked on course for a routine win at struggling Elche when Modric opened the scoring in the 20th minute.

Croatian Modric pounced to place a perfect header in the top corner after Marco Asensio’s long range shot thumped back out off the bar, the second time Madrid had hit the woodwork in the early minutes.

The away side thought they had a penalty nine minutes before the break when referee Jorge Figueroa Vazquez pointed to the spot for what he thought was an Ivan Marcone handball, but the awarding was cancelled following a VAR check.

Elche then got a spot-kick of their own five minutes into the second half when Dani Carvajal was caught tearing at Antonio Barragan’s shirt, with Fidel stepping up to stroke home the leveller.

Lucas Boye then hit the post for the hosts before home keeper Edgar Badia made two superb stops to deny Carvajal and Sergio Ramos as Madrid pushed for a win that would have kept them level on points with their capital city rivals.

“When I look at how we played in the first half, I tell myself it’s two points dropped. Plenty of teams will drop points. It’s a hard season, and we still have plenty of matches left,” said Zidane.

Granada in Euro hunt

Earlier Granada moved to within two points of the Champions League places after beating Valencia 2-1 in a feisty match where three players were sent off in six second-half minutes.

Jorge Molina’s powerful header two minutes from time keeps Granada in seventh place on 24 points, two behind fourth-placed Sevilla, Sociedad and Villarreal.

Valencia’s seventh league defeat of the season leaves them level on 15 points with Real Valladolid, who are third-from-bottom in the relegation zone.

Javi Gracia’s side haven’t won a La Liga match in their last seven attempts and had their task made harder when Jason and Goncalo Guedes were sent off within three minutes of each other midway through the second half.

Granada’s Domingos Duarte was then shown a straight red card three minutes later after he cynically hacked down Manu Vallejo as he attempted to burst through on goal with the scores still level.

Molina punished the beleaguered away side by thumping home Alberto Soro’s cross.

MOST VIEWED

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration