MADRID: Ten-man Espanyol battled to a 1-1 LaLiga draw at Atletico Madrid today, another disappointing result for Diego Simeone’s team days after they were eliminated from European competition.
Atletico, who have won only one of their last six games in all competitions, are third in the standings on 24 points, eight behind Real Madrid who play Rayo Vallecano on Monday and 10 adrift of leaders Barcelona.
Betis, on 23 points, and Real Sociedad, on 22, have a game in hand and could jump ahead of Atletico at the end of Sunday.
Espanyol remained 16th, one point clear of the relegation zone.
Despite playing most of the match with 10 men after defender Leandro Cabrera was shown a straight red card for a last-man foul on Alvaro Morata, Espanyol defended well against the home team who had 27 goal attempts against six from the visitors.
Espanyol also made the most of their only shot on target in the second half when Sergi Darder was set up by a Joselu header to volley home in the 66th minute.
Substitute Joao Felix rescued a point for Atletico in the 78th minute, slotting a precise shot into the bottom corner following a counter-attack.
“We are not well, it’s not normal what’s happening to us,” Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak told DAZN.
“It’s a result that doesn’t help at all. We tried but we are in a stuck in a hole that nothing seems to work.
“Maybe it’s a psychological thing, when your mind is not right, the body doesn’t respond.”
Atletico started strongly and pressed Espanyol who went down to 10 men in the 28th minute after Cabrera held Morata from behind when the striker was sprinting towards goal.
But the hosts missed several chances falling to Antoine Griezmann, Marcos Llorente, Morata, Angel Correa and Jose Maria Gimenez.
Portugal striker Joao Felix, who has fallen out of favour with Simeone at times this season, came off the bench to score and be Atletico’s best player for the second consecutive league match.
He created the equaliser with brilliant individual play, running down the left channel to score with an unstoppable strike and was twice denied by goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte.
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