Atletico Madrid’s title hopes were dealt a major blow as Marcos Acuna gave Sevilla a 1-0 win over the La Liga leaders.
Having held a commanding lead at the top of the Spanish top flight not so long ago, Diego Simeone’s side now have just a three-point cushion. A Barcelona win over Real Valladolid on Monday night would close that gap further to one point.
Sevilla started on the front foot and were awarded a penalty kick when Ivan Rakitic was tripped inside the box. Lucas Ocampos, however, couldn’t beat Jan Oblak from the spot as he saved his second penalty in as many La Liga games.
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Simeone made an early change to his team in the first half, withdrawing Ronan Lodi for Angel Correa and that shift appeared to have changed the momentum, with Atleti pressing hard for the breakthrough in the second half.
But when it finally came it went the way of Sevilla when full back Marcos Acuna arrived late inside the Atletico Madrid penalty box to head home a Jesus Navas cross with 20 minutes left to play.
This proved to be the match-winner as Simeone and his Atleti players were left to reflect on another missed opportunity in a title race that increasingly appears to be getting away from the capital club.
TALKING POINT - Atletico Madrid’s title charge is losing momentum at the worst time
Not so long ago, Atletico Madrid were widely considered champions-elect in La Liga. They had a commanding lead at the top of the table and looked to be uncatchable. How things have changed. This result means Atleti have won just four of their last 10 league games - hardly the form of a team charging towards the title. Simeone’s side have laboured their way through matches for a couple months now. They are losing momentum at the worst time of the season.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Jesus Navas (Sevilla)
There have been many wingers who have been converted into wing backs later in their careers, but none have been converted as successfully as Navas. The former Manchester City wide man is now considered one of the best players in his position in La Liga and provided the assist for Acuna to score the winner. Navas gave Sevilla an outlet down the right side throughout, making the most of Yannick Carrasco’s absence on that wing through suspension.
Sevilla: Bono 8, Navas 8, Kounde 7, Carlos 7, Acuna 8, Rakitic 6, Fernando 6, Jordan 6, Suso 6, De Jong 5, Ocampos 7. Subs: Gudelj 5, Vazquez 3, Gomez 4, En-Nesyri 5.
Atletico Madrid: Oblak 8, Trippier 5, Felipe 6, Gimenez 6, Hermoso 4, Lodi 4, Llorente 6, Koke 5, Saul 4, Lemar 4, Suarez 5. Subs: Herrera 4, Kondogbia 3, Correa 5.
9’ PENALTY KICK TO SEVILLA! It's a terrible start for Atletico Madrid as Rakitic is tripped inside the area!
10’ PENALTY KICK SAVED! Oblak comes to Atletico Madrid's rescue! Ocampos steps up and sees his effort from 12 yards out saved by the Slovenian goalkeeper! He's so good at saving spot kicks!
70’ GOAL! Sevilla 1-0 Atletico Madrid: The breakthrough has been made! Navas was played to the byline, he cut back a cross into the middle and Acuna arrived late to head home, beating Oblak! Sevilla have been second best in this half, but they now have the advantage!
74’ Should have been an equaliser! What an opportunity! Saul controls a pass at the byline and cuts back the pass for Hermoso who was completely free 12 yards out, but he blasts over!
90+1’ That was the chance! Oh what an opportunity! Suarez flicked a pass over the head of Carlos, it fell perfectly for Correa, he struck it on the full volley, but Bono makes the crucial save!
- This was only Diego Simeone’s second defeat to Sevilla as Atletico Madrid manager in 19 meetings and Julen Lopetegui’s first win as a manager over Atleti.
- Atletico Madrid faced 12 shots from Sevilla in the first half, the most shots they have faced in the first half of any match this season in all competitions.
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