Atletico Madrid failed in its bid to usurp Barcelona at the top of La Liga as it was held 1-1 at the Vicente Calderon by Sevilla.
Diego Simeone’s side looked on course when David Villa opened the scoring early in the first half, but the home side couldn’t build on that advantage and Ivan Rakitic’s penalty meant Atleti dropped points at home for just the second time this season.
After Barcelona was held to a surprise draw with Levante, Atletico knew a win would see it replace the Catalan giants at the summit of La Liga, and the hosts looked every bit a table-topping outfit, pinning Sevilla back in its own half from the first whistle.
Atletico forced the issue early on, peppering the Sevilla box with crosses from the flanks, but it was a smart reverse pass from Villa that gave the club its first opening, fullback Felipe running onto the ball but skewing his effort wide of Beto’s goal.
Striker Diego Costa’s record against Sevilla is an impressive one, having netted nine times in 10 appearances against the Andalusian club, and he almost added to that tally 15 minutes in, deceiving Fernando Navarro with a cute dummy before latching onto the ball and firing a low effort into the side netting.
The deadlock was broken just a few moments later as Atletico took a thoroughly deserved lead. Diego Godin rose highest to head down Gabi’s corner and when Beto failed to get any real connection with his punch, Villa was on hand to steer the ball into the bottom corner of the unguarded net.
Despite seemingly being in control of the game though, Atleti failed to build on its lead and allowed its opponents back into the game.
Right back Coke was first to go close to an equalizer with an effort from just outside the area and soon after an Alberto Moreno corner was causing problems for the hosts, Daniel Carrico seeing his header blocked before Federico Fazio sliced the rebound wide.
Sevilla boss Unai Emery changed his side’s shape at the beginning of the second half, introducing Kevin Gameiro to the action as it looked to find a way past a staunch Atletico defense, but it was the hosts that produced the first chance of after the break, Raul Garcia firing wide on the angle.
The home side’s hopes of going top of the pile were dashed though on 73 minutes as referee Hernandez Hernandez spotted Juanfran’s tug on Carlos Bacca’s jersey inside the area and awarded the visitors a penalty.
After Hernandez waved away all protests, Rakitic kept his cool from 12 yards, giving Thibaut Courtois no chance and bringing Sevilla level.
The hosts went in search of another goal but couldn’t find a way past Beto, Costa nodding over from a Gabi cross standing as the closest the Madrid side came as Sevilla ended the game with 10 men after Alberto Moreno saw red late.
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