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Atletico suffer blow in La Liga title race

Atletico hit new low as Sevilla keep pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid

December 18, 2021 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The defending champions have seen their odds of winning the title for a second successive season skyrocketing after Saturday night's feat.

Unless something extraordinary happens, Atletico Madrid should be waving goodbye to their La Liga title aspirations following the turn of events in Saturday night's clash with Sevilla. The league's defending champions were condemned to a new low after losing 2-0 to Los Nervionenses, falling 13 points behind leaders and city rivals Real Madrid as a result.

While Atleti began positively early on, it was Sevilla struck first after just seven minutes when Ivan Rakitic hit a tremendous shot from outside the box into the top corner of Jan Oblak's net. Just after the half-hour mark, Atletico Madrid equalised when Felipe got on the end of a Thomas Lemar corner kick to head past Bono and reestablish parity.

The second half was tense, with neither team creating many chances and tensions rising on the pitch and on the touchline, where the referee had to confront Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone. The latter's optimism and desire to see the comeback completed by his men was subsequently ruined when Ocampos reacted quickly to a corner kick with just two minutes of regulation time left, slamming a powerful shot past Oblak to fire Sevilla in front.

With the result, Atletico were condemned to their third successive defeat in all competitions, the first time ever that they have suffered the feat under manager Diego Simeone. For Sevilla, the win saw them jump ahead of the defending champions by eight points. At the moment, Julien Lopetogui's men realistically remain Real Madrid's only remaining title rivals. The latter will take on Cadiz on Sunday afternoon as they look to reestablish a five-point gap.

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