Atletico Madrid got an enormous let-off on Saturday as Elche missed a 91st-minute penalty, permitting the La Liga leaders to flee with a 1-0 win and go 5 factors clear on the prime of the desk.
Elche’s Fidel Chaves struck the publish together with his injury-time spot-kick in what may show a pivotal second in Spain’s thrilling title race, with Actual Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla all nonetheless within the hunt to be topped champions.
Marcos Llorente gave Atletico the lead on the Estadio Martinez Valero however they did not make the consequence safe and Elche twice may have equalised within the remaining minutes.
First, Antonio Barragan volleyed over from shut vary after which Llorente’s handball gave Fidel a golden alternative from the spot however he too squandered the prospect.
Diego Simeone leapt into the air when the ball got here again off the publish, his facet pulling additional clear and placing strain on the others, with Actual Madrid at house to Osasuna in a while Saturday earlier than Barcelona journey to Valencia on Sunday.
Sevilla, who at the moment are six factors behind, play their sport in hand on Monday in opposition to Athletic Bilbao.
After a frantic week that noticed Actual Madrid draw at house to Actual Betis, Atletico lose in opposition to Athletic and Barcelona defeated by Granada, any victory, even one as marginal as this, might be welcome for Atleti.
They’re now assured to be forward of Barca once they kick off at Camp Nou subsequent Saturday, the one query now how vital their benefit might be.
Actual Madrid additionally face Sevilla at Valdebebas a day later in a crunch weekend on the prime however the resistance of 18th-placed Elche in opposition to La Liga’s frontrunners suggests the race might properly go to the ultimate day.
– VAR denies Atletico in first half –
Simeone’s facet had been denied 3 times within the first half, Luis Suarez lacking a golden likelihood earlier than that they had a objective and a penalty dominated out by VAR.
Suarez’s likelihood got here early, the Uruguayan stepping over Mario Hermoso’s move after which latching onto Angel Correa’s backheel solely to fireside huge from eight yards.
When he did rating shortly after, Suarez noticed the objective chalked off, VAR exhibiting he was simply offside when slotting house Llorente’s move throughout.
Lastly, Atletico broke by way of, with Yannick Carrasco weaving by way of down the left earlier than selecting out the arrival Llorente, whose shot deflected off Josema Sanchez on its manner in.
Atletico thought that they had a penalty on the stroke of half-time for a handball by Diego Gonzalez however that was additionally scrubbed off by referee Melero Lopez.
The heart beat of the sport slowed within the second half, though Elche needed a penalty of their very own when Geoffrey Kondogbia nudged Pere Milla within the again.
Joao Felix, on as an alternative, might need grabbed a second for Atletico however hesitated within the field and as an alternative Saul Niguez’s shot was blocked.
One was by no means sufficient to really feel snug and Barragan ought to have equalised with 5 minutes left when the ball was headed again to him six yards out however in some way he volleyed over.
There was nonetheless extra drama to come back as Victor Rodriguez’s cross struck the hand of the leaping Llorente within the field and Fidel stepped as much as snatch a draw. As a substitute, he discovered the skin of the publish.