Atletico ease past Sevilla to keep pressure on Barca
MADRID (AFP) –
Atletico Madrid thrashed Sevilla 4-0 to draw level with Barcelona at the top of La Liga ahead of Barca’s away game at Levante on Sunday night.
Radamel Falcao, Arda Turan and Koke got first-half goals and Miranda one in the last minute to make it seven straight home wins in the league against a Sevilla side that played with only 10 men from the 22th minute and finished with nine.
Barcelona can go three points clear if they win at Levante, but of equal importance for Atletico is they now move eight points ahead of local rivals Real Madrid in third, who lost 1-0 at Betis on Saturday, before next Saturday’s derby in the Santiago Bernabeu.
After dominating the opening exchanges Atletico finally made a breakthrough on nineteen minutes.
Falcao went up for a header in the area and appeared to be fouled by Emir Spahic but when the referee waved play on Koke was pulled down by Federico Fazio, who received a straight red.
The Colombian striker smashed the penalty straight down the middle of the goal to put Atletico ahead with his eleventh league goal of the season and Sevilla were facing more than an hour of play with ten men.
On 38 minutes Turan doubled the home side’s lead when Falcao received a defensive clearance and broke at speed before releasing the Turkish winger, who hit a shot that caught a slight deflection of Spahic on the way to goal.
On the stroke of half-time it was three when Koke stroked home a Diego Costa cross after good work on the right from him.
It was one way traffic in the second period but Sevilla held firm for most of it, despite losing Ivan Rakitic to a second yellow on 83 minutes, before Miranda hit the fourth from close range in injury time.
Earlier on Sunday, Athletic Bilbao and Deportivo La Coruna shared the points in a 1-1 draw in the San Mames stadium.
Oscar de Marcos put the home side ahead on 24 minutes when he converted a Markel Susaeta cross, but against the run of play Abel Aguilar hit an equaliser early in the second-half to earn Deportivo a point and move his side out of the relegation zone.
Getafe won 2-0 at Espanyol to keep the Barcelona side bottom of the table, two points behind Deportivo.
Pedro Leon put Getafe ahead on 15 minutes before Mane doubled the lead in the last minute.