Atletico Madrid suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at the hands of Levante to blow the La Liga title race wide open.
The result leaves Atletico just three points ahead of Barcelona and six clear of Real Madrid. However, Real hold two games in hand over Atleti and can draw level with wins over Valencia and Valladolid.
Atletico struggled to impose themselves on the game in the first half, with Levante taking the lead just seven minutes in. A corner kick was allowed to bounce inside the six yard before deflecting off Filipe Luis and past the scrambling Thibaut Courtois.
David Villa was presented with a golden chance to restore parity after Keylor Navas saved Raul Garcia’s initial shot, but the former Barcelona striker blasted well over the bar.
An estimated 10,000 Atletico fans made the journey to Valencia for the game, but they saw their team fall 2-0 down after 69 minutes, when David Barral finished past Courtois to cap a rapid counter attack.
Atletico pressed hard to find a way back into the game, with Adrian Lopez and Tiago coming close, but Levante held firm to deal a huge blow to the table-toppers’ title hopes.
7’ GOAL – Uh oh! The corner kick comes in from the right side, bounces inside the six yard box and bounces off Filipe Luis and finds its way into the net past Courtois!
12’ CHANCE – Huge chance for Atletico! Garcia takes a long ball on his chest before spinning and shooting at goal! Navas pulls off a great save and then on the rebound Villa blasts well over the crossbar. What an opportunity!
20’ POOR DECISION – Really bad decision by the linesman! Costa is played clean through on goal by Garcia, but the flag goes up for offside. Looking at replays Vyntra was keeping the Atletico striker onside by about a yard or two.
33’ ELBOW – The camera man catches an off the ball reaction from Costa to being roughed up by Diop. The striker threw his elbow into the Levante midfielder. He's very lucky that the referee missed that.
35’ SAVE – Great save by Navas! Atletico work the ball out to Alderweireld on the right side, who blasts a shot at the near post. But the Levante keeper gets down well to make the stop and keep his team in the lead.
53’ BIG CHANCE – Big chance for Atletico! Costa shrugs off the challenge of Vyntra, before laying it off to Adrian, who in turn plays it to Turan. But Juanfran throws himself in front of the shot to keep it 1-0!
63’ LUCKY – Atletico get very lucky! Miranda's pass is intercepted by Barral, who goes into a challenge with Godin. He wins the ball and sets Ruben clean through on goal, but the referee draws it back for a foul. Dubious!
65’ OFF THE LINE – Off the line! Filipe Luis comes so close to making amends for his first half own goal, but Vyntra is on hand to clear his left-footed drive off the line, with Navas beaten for once. Wow!
66’ PAST THE POST – Costa looks certain to score but puts it past the post! The freekick comes into the box from Gabi, but with the striker free of a marker he can't stretch enough and directs the ball just past the target.
69’ GOAL – A hammer blow to Atletico's title hopes! Barral takes control of the cross from Vyntra and finishes past Courtois and into the net.
76’ WOODWORK – Adrian hits the woodwork! Atletico Madrid break on the counter attack, with Adrian played through on goal, but his shot across the goal hits the post. Nothing is going right for Simeone's side.
Filipe Luis is the second Atletico Madrid player to have scored an own goal in La Liga this season, after Thibaut Courtois.
Atletico Madrid’s nine-game winning run has now ended.
TALKING POINT – Did Atletico’s Champions League exploits take their toll?
For perhaps the first time this season Atletico looked short of ideas and weary. Did their efforts against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final take its toll on Simeone's side? If so, the Atletico manager must find a way to revitalise his players as the season builds up to the La Liga climax and the Champions League final against Real Madrid.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Keylor Navas
It’s not hard to see why the Levante keeper is regarded as one of the best number ones in La Liga. Every time Atletico got a sight of goal the Costa Rican was on hand to pull outrageous save after outrageous save. He won’t be at Levante next season.
Levante – Navas 9, Vyntra 7, Juanfran 7, Navarro 6, Lopez 6, Diop 6, Simao 7, Sissoko 8, Casadesus 6, Barral 8, Ruben 7. Subs – Angel 5, Pinto 7, Ivanschitz 6.
Atletico Madrid – Courtois 6, Alderweireld 6, Mirand 5, Godin 5, Filipe 4, Garcia 6, Gabi 5, Tiago 6, Koke 5, Costa 5, Villa 4. Subs – Adrian 6, Turan 6, Diego 4.
- Sports & Recreation
- Atletico Madrid
- Thibaut Courtois
- Keylor Navas
- La Liga
- Real Madrid
- Filipe Luis
- David Barral