Atletico lose in Bilbao as Barca move closer
Leaders Atletico Madrid have abandoned what could prove to be crucial points in the La Liga title race with a 2-1 loss to Athletic Bilbao after Barcelona tied with Real Madrid thanks to a 2-1 win over Villarreal.
Diego Simeone’s Rojiblancos have 73 points in 33 games, two more than defending champions Real Madrid and Barcelona, although the Catalans have one game in hand.
Athletic took the lead when Alex Berenguer led a deflected cross past Jan Oblak in the ninth minute.
Stefan Savic equalized when he returned home in the 77th minute after the Athletic goalkeeper left his line to try for a corner kick and got stuck.
However, Inigo Martinez snatched a winner for the hosts with four minutes on the clock, coming powerfully home one corner at the other end.
“We wanted to win the game of course, and that’s football. We’ll keep fighting until the end and we think we can do it,” said Atletico captain Koke.
Atletico last won the Spanish title in 2014.
If Barcelona win their remaining six games, which includes a clash with Atleti, they will win another domestic triumph.
Antoine Griezmann’s brace earned the Catalans a nervous victory at Villarreal.
The French striker finished sublimely less than 90 seconds after Samu Chukwueze sent Villarreal ahead.
Griezmann struck again in the 35th minute after a glaring error by Juan Foyth to put in to complete the turnaround.
Villarreal was greatly improved in the second half, but Manu Trigueros was sent off for a savage tackle against Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.
“We all want to win La Liga, but four teams are fighting for it,” Griezmann told Movistar.
“We will try to win all of our games, that’s the only way to become champions.”
Sevilla secured a 2-1 victory over Granada with goals from Ivan Rakitic and Lucas Ocampos.
Roberto Soldado withdrew one after death from the penalty spot.
Sevilla’s victory took them to 70 points and they can’t be knocked out of the title calculation.
Elsewhere, Getafe beat relegation-threatened Huesca 2-0 and Celta Vigo won 2-1 over Osasuna.