Atletico Madrid slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Osasuna on Sunday, leaving Real
Madrid as the sole La
Liga leader for the first time since May 2012.
Atletico were much changed but still expected to cast Javi Gracia’s men aside
and draw level with city rivals Real – who they host on Sunday – at the top
of the table.
Instead they were three down inside a breathless opening half as they were
stunned by goals from Alvaro Cejudo, Emiliano Armenteros and Roberto Torres.
All three goals were preventable and while Atletico improved marginally
after the break, a deserving Osasuna had already inflicted too much damage.
Coach Diego Simeone’s decision to make five changes from the team that won 1-0
away to AC Milan in the Champions League in midweek therefore appeared to
backfire, although he did still include top scorer Diego Costa alongside
David Villa up front.
It was in defence, however, that Atletico were most obviously laboured and,
after a fourth defeat in their past six games in all competitions, Simeone
has work to do ahead of a Madrid derby that has now taken on even more
importance for his side.
Atletico will go into the match three points behind Real, who end the weekend
clear at the top after Barcelona
also suffered a surprise defeat, 3-1 at Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Barca endured another miserable trip to the Anoeta, where they were beaten 3-2
by Sociedad in the corresponding fixture last season.
The Basque side went ahead in the 32nd minute when Gorka Elustondo’s header
found the net via the shoulder of visiting defender Alex Song.
Lionel Messi equalised four minutes later with a typically clinical finish,
but further home goals in the first 14 minutes of the second half – scored
by Antoine Griezmann and David Zurutuza – ensured the champions left San
Sebastian empty-handed for the third time in four seasons
Real Madrid, who also played on Saturday, eased to a 3-0 win at home to Elche.
Asier Illaramendi’s first-half opener got Madrid off the mark before a
stunning 71st-minute strike from Gareth
Bale put the hosts out of reach. Isco hit a third with 10 minutes
Elsewhere, Athletic Bilbao strengthened their hold on fourth place by winning
2-0 at nine-man Real Betis, while Valencia and Sevilla won to move to within
five points of sixth place and Spain’s last Europa League spot.
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