Set­back for Atletico

> Sime­one’s men pay penalty in de­feat

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

ATLETICO MADRID’S La Liga ti­tle hopes suf­fered an­other se­ri­ous set­back as two Real So­ciedad penal­ties in­flicted a 2-0 de­feat on the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal­ists yes­ter­day.

Car­los Vela opened the scor­ing nine min­utes into the sec­ond half be­fore hand­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties from the spot to Wil­lian Jose to seal So­ciedad’s third straight win 15 min­utes from time.

A sec­ond league de­feat in three games means Atletico re­main three points be­hind league lead­ers Real Madrid be­fore they hosted Le­ganes overnight.

Atletico host Real in a re­match of the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal af­ter the in­ter­na­tional break on Nov 19.

“There are no ex­cuses. They played bet­ter and that’s all,” said Atletico de­fender Juan­fran, who missed the vi­tal penalty in May’s Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal.

“We have more time to pre­pare for an im­por­tant game, lift our heads and I am sure we will win at home.”

Diego Sime­one’s men had sealed their place in the last 16 of the Cham­pi­ons League on Tues­day with a stop­page-time vic­tory over FC Ros­tov, but suf­fered a Euro­pean hang­over in an in­sipid dis­play lack­ing in en­ergy and in­ven­tion.

“We don’t look for ex­cuses. The op­po­nents pre­pared well and played very well in the sec­ond-half,” added Sime­one.

Real So­ciedad dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion in the open­ing 20 min­utes, but it was Atletico who had the best chance be­fore half­time when Kevin Gameiro was played in by Yan­nick Car­rasco and was un­for­tu­nate to see his chip over Geron­imo Rulli come back off the post.

A tight game swung de­ci­sively the home side’s way when left­back Yuri burst into the box just af­ter the break and was up­ended by Atletico cap­tain Gabi.

Vela stepped up to coolly send Jan Oblak the wrong way for his fourth goal of the sea­son.

The Mex­i­can blasted a great chance to seal the win over as La Real threat­ened to pick Atletico off on the counter-at­tack.

How­ever, Vela was key for the sec­ond goal as he led an­other break and was chopped down by An­gel Cor­rea. Wil­lian Jose also sent the help­less Oblak the wrong way from the spot to move the Basque to within two points of Atletico in sixth.

At the other end of the ta­ble, Granada re­main rooted to the bot­tom and with­out a win this sea­son af­ter a 1-1 draw at home to Deportivo la Coruna.

Florin An­done handed the vis­i­tors the lead, but an own goal from Deportivo ‘keeper Prze­mys­law Ty­ton sal­vaged a point for Granada nine min­utes from time.

Osasuna also re­main in the rel­e­ga­tion zone as Chris­tian San­tos’s penalty 13 min­utes from time handed Alaves a 1-0 win in Pam­plona. – AFP

Atletico Madrid’s Yan­nick Fer­reira Car­rasco (C) vies with Real So­ciedad’s Asier Il­lar­ra­mendi (L) and Car­los Mar­tinez (R) dur­ing their Span­ish La Liga match at the Anoeta sta­dium yes­ter­day. –

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