Atletico Draw, Real Clasico Win, La Liga Title Race Wide Open

Atletico Draw, Real Clasico Win, La Liga Title Race Wide Open Photo: TT
Atletico de Madrid head coach Diego Pablo Cholo Simeone at full time Real Betis v Atletico de Madrid

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone remains bullish about his side’s title chances despite seeing their La Liga lead cut to one point this weekend.

Spanish leaders Atletico Madrid could only manage a 1-1 draw away to sixth-placed Real Betis on Sunday, meaning second-placed Real Madrid trail by only one point after their 2-1 Clasico win on Saturday.

Real overcame Barcelona with first-half goals from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos to leapfrog the Catalans into second spot, with only two points separating all three sides at the top.

Atletico’s grip on top spot is tenuous following a poor run, which has seen them collect 17 points from their past 11 La Liga games.

“We will see what happens, all the teams have a moment of irregularity and hopefully we have passed it after today’s draw,” Simeone told Marca post-game.

“We have maintained a firm and strong step this season as both Madrid and Barcelona have begun to recover so we will wait and see.”

Atletico’s situation was hardly helped by injuries to Joao Felix and Kieran Trippier on Sunday too.

The club updated: “Joao Felix and Kieran Trippier were unable to complete the full game against Betis on Sunday. The forward was taken off due to ankle trauma, whereas the Englishman was replaced because of lumbar discomfort. Both players are pending response to treatment.”

Meanwhile, Real boss Zinedine Zidane was buoyant but cautious after his side’s Clasico victory amid a heavy schedule.

“There is still a long way to go,” he said to Marca. “We will rest tomorrow as it has been two hard-fought games.

“I don’t know how we are going to end the season, because we are physically at the limit.”

Barca boss Ronald Koeman was preoccupied with his side being denied a late penalty in the Clasico when Martin Braithwaite went down inside the box.

“If you’re a Barca fan you’re angry; you’re not happy with some of the referee’s decisions,” Koeman said.

“I only ask that referees get decisions right. It’s a penalty and then, after that, to only add four minutes of stoppage time when the referee had spent three minutes (fixing a communication) issue with the VAR… But the penalty is crystal clear. There is a referee, a linesman, VAR.”

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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