La Liga review: Atletico keep Barca waiting for title

La Liga review: Atletico keep Barca waiting for title

Atletico has a seven-point advantage over third-place Real Madrid, which visits fourth-place Getafe on Thursday.

Levante moved three points away from the relegation zone with a 4-0 rout of Real Betis at home, a result that ended the team's nine-match winless streak.

Valverde sent on Lionel Messi for the final half-hour nearly as soon as Suarez had doubled the lead from the penalty spot.

For that reason Ernesto Valverde chose to leave Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba on the bench ahead of next week's first leg at home and while that stunted Barcelona, they were rarely in danger of being tested.

Angel Correa scored a late victor for Atletico Madrid against Valencia to delay Barcelona's La Liga title celebrations by a few days at least.

Barca soon knocked their biggest rivals back out of the title race though by marching 12 points clear of them with a 1-0 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu in March.

The boss might also have had in mind his team's congested fixture list, with Levante in LaLiga coming up this weekend, followed by the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final against Liverpool next week Wednesday.

"We are doing all we can, which is win our games and keep going while there is still a chance", Simeone said.

Striker Alvaro Morata opened the scoring for Atletico after a cross by Juanfran Torres less than 10 minutes into the match, and forward Kevin Gameiro equalized from inside the area near the end of the first half.

"I'd prefer to win it on Saturday at home and celebrate it with our supporters, although if we win it before then it will be welcome", he said, according to Marca.

However, missing the action was FC Barcelona's five-time Ballon d'Or victor Lionel Messi as Valverde named a line-up without the Argentine in the playing XI.

Other regular starters rested by Valverde on Tuesday included midfielder Arthur, central defender Clement Lenglet and leftback Jordi Alba.

Sergi Roberto fired over from inside the area but it was his run down the right that created Alena's opener in the 54th minute.

Michel scored the victor with a shot from outside the area in the 67th minute, ending his team's five-match winless streak.

Huesca left the bottom of the table for the first time since the seventh round by beating Eibar 2-0 at home with two remarkable second-half goals.

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