MADRID, April 18 (Xinhua) — Atletico Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga to three points over Real Madrid and five over FC Barcelona after Sunday’s round of matches.
While Barcelona didn’t play after Saturday’s Copa del Rey success over Athletic Club Bilbao, Real Madrid was held to a 0-0 draw in Getafe, while Atletico cruised to a 5-0 win over bottom of the table Eibar.
The game was decided by two goals in two minutes just before halftime by Atletico striker Angel Correa, who poked home twice from close range following successive corners in the 42nd and 44th minutes to break the deadlock.
Eibar never recovered from the double blow and Yannick Carrasco added a third in the 49th minute after rounding the keeper and fit-again Marcos Llorente swept home a fourth soon thereafter.
Llorente netted his second of the game after a pass from Carrasco to calm nerves at Atletico and further deepen Eibar’s problems.
Zinedine Zidane made a host of changes for Real Madrid’s visit to Getafe, with Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema all rested, while Fede Valverde had to drop out of the squad after being in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. That meant B-team defender Victor Chust started along with Isco, Rodrygo, Marcelo, Marco Asensio, and Mariano Diaz.
With so many changes Zidane’s side never found a rhythm and lost possession far too often. Jaime Mata hit the post for Getafe, while Madrid also lacked bite in attack as their injuries and busy fixture calendar began to take their toll.
Two excellent saves from Thibaut Courtois kept the score 0-0 as the second half progressed and although they now slip to three points behind Atletico Madrid, Real should view this as a point gained rather than two points lost.
Sevilla strengthened their case to be considered title contenders with a 2-1 win away to Real Sociedad, in a result that is a blow for the home side’s European hopes.
Former Sevilla striker Carlos Fernandez put Real Sociedad in front in the fifth minute, but Sevilla overturned that score in an impressive first half.
Youssef En Nesyri hit the post before Fernando Reges scored from close range after Jesus Navas’ ball from the right in the 21st minute and two minutes later En-Nesyri put Sevilla ahead, pouncing on the loose ball after Alex Remiro had parried Lucas Ocampos’ shot onto the woodwork.
En-Neysri hit the post again before the break as Sevilla continued to dominate and Julen Lopetegui’s side controlled the game perfectly in the second half to leave Real Sociedad with no way-back.
Betis and Valencia shared four goals in a game that puts a break on Betis’ options of qualifying for Europe next season.
Valencia winger Goncalo Guedes was the man of the match, scoring a 21st-minute goal to cancel out Nabil Fekir’s 11th-minute opener for Betis. Guedes then provoked a 60th-minute penalty which allowed Carlos Soler to seal a draw after former Valencia midfielder Sergio Canales had scored a 41st-minute shot from outside of the penalty area to put Betis momentarily in front.
The results for Betis and Real Sociedad allowed Villarreal to move into fifth place thanks to an easy win in their east coast derby away to Levante. Villarreal was 2-0 ahead after 12 minutes after Helder Postiga deflected a cross into his own net and Gerard Moreno netted his 20th goal of the season.
Mickael Malsa pulled a goal back for Levante in the 20th minute, but two goals from Samuel Chukwueze reestablished Villarreal’s two-goal cushion, and another own goal from Ruben Vezo
Alaves took three vital points from their relegation duel against Huesca thanks to Rodrigo Battaglia’s 85th-minute thunderbolt, which lifted his side out of the bottom three.
Osasuna had a routine 2-0 win at home to Elche, who remain in the bottom three thanks to Kike Barja’s crisp left foot effort in the 37th minute and an own goal from Diego Gonzalez with 23 minutes left to play.
Cadiz and Celta Vigo drew 0-0 in a game with very few chances, which leaves Cadiz as the joint lowest scorers in La Liga alongside Osasuna with just 27 goals from 31 matches.