After Atletico Madrid stumbled in the Spanish league, Real Madrid did not miss their chance to get closer to the top.
Madrid won 1-0 in Valladolid on Saturday for their fourth consecutive victory, while Atletico lost points for the second consecutive game in a 2-0 home loss against Levante, which ended its unbeaten streak of 11 games in the league.
The results left Madrid in second place within three points of Atletico, which remains with a match in hand, but is beginning to feel the heat. Third place in Barcelona could move within six points of Atletico if they beat Cadiz at home on Sunday.
Casemiro headed in the 65th minute to cross Tony Kroos to give Madrid two rounds before visiting Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Madrid managed to get to the top, although they recently played without several key players due to injuries, including Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard.
None of them could play in Valladolid, as Madrid withstood several threats, but mostly controlled the hosts, who are unbeaten in seven games in all competitions and sit last in the standings of 20 teams.
“It was a great effort for the team, as we have some very important players who have been eliminated,” said Casemiro, who was already close to opening the scoring with two more headers. “We are still fighting for the league title. We know it’s hard, but there are still a lot of matches to play. “
More than 1,000 dolls were placed in the stands of Valladolid Stadium to promote the fight against children’s cancer. Proceeds from the sale go to a local hospital.
Jose Luis Morales scored in the 30th minute, and Jorge de Frutos added another goal in the shortened time of the Metropolitano, giving Atletico the first loss in the league since December – and the first at home in more than a year.
Diego Simeone’s side have won just one of their last four league games.
“I’m not looking for excuses, we have to find solutions,” Simeone said. “It is natural that we will face difficulties along the way. There will be challenges. “
This was the second consecutive league match between Atletico and Levante. They drew 1-1 on Wednesday in a game postponed by the second round due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Atletico have won nine of their last 11 league games and have not lost 1-0 to Real Madrid in December. He had finished two of his last three games, failing against Levante and Celta Vigo. Atletico was eliminated by third division club Cornela in the second round of the Copa del Rey in January.
Atletico were unbeaten at home in the league in 22 games, after a 1-0 loss to Barcelona in December 2019. They made 23 games unbeaten at home between 2013 and 2014, when they last won the league.
“We are the same team that took the lead, so we need to be able to keep it,” said Atletico defender Mario Hermoso. “These setbacks are normal, we just have to hope that ours will end as soon as possible. . “
Levante, who recently reached the semifinals of the Copa del Rey for the first time in 86 years, had not won 14 games at Atletico in the league, with 13 losses and a draw. He also won at Real Madrid four rounds ago after losing his last eight away games. Levante had not won two consecutive away matches in the championship since 2018.
He moved up to eighth place with a victory on Saturday, his first of four games in all competitions.
Atletico have a tough schedule ahead, hosting Chelsea in the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday and playing Villarreal and Real Madrid in the next two Spanish league games.
This was the seventh consecutive game in which Atletico conceded a goal. He had scored in seven consecutive games in all competitions.
Manu Vallejo and Kevin Gameiro scored in each half when Valencia beat Celta Vigo 2-0 at home.
Elche beat visiting Eibar 1-0 with a goal in the first half of Dani Calvo in a match between relegation-threatened teams.