Atletico wins, keeps Barcelona from clinching Spanish title

MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid made sure Barcelona has to wait a little longer to celebrate the Spanish league title.

With a 3-2 win over Valencia on Wednesday, Atletico cut Barcelona’s lead to nine points and kept the Catalan club from clinching the title — at least until the weekend.

Barcelona defeated Alaves 2-0 on Tuesday and would have sealed its second straight league trophy — and eighth in 11 seasons — if Atletico lost at home. Now it will have to wait until Saturday, when a win over relegation-threatened Levante at Camp Nou Stadium would be enough.

The Catalan club can also secure its 26th title if Atletico loses its match at Valladolid earlier on Saturday.

With four matches remaining, Barcelona holds the head-to-head tiebreaker against Atletico, which is trying to finish runner-up for the second straight season. It has a seven-point advantage over third-place Real Madrid, which visits fourth-place Getafe on Thursday.

Valencia, which had won four in a row in all competitions, stayed fifth in the standings, two points behind Getafe in the final Champions League spot. Valencia has reached the Copa del Rey final — it will face Barcelona on May 25 — and the semifinals of the Europa League — when it will play Arsenal.

Substitute Angel Correa scored the winning goal for Atletico with a curling shot from outside the area in the 81st minute, giving Atletico its fifth win in its last six matches, with the only setback a 2-0 loss against Barcelona at Camp Nou four rounds ago.

Striker Alvaro Morata opened the scoring for Atletico after a cross by Juanfran Torres less than 10 minutes into the match, and forward Kevin Gameiro equalized from inside the area near the end of the first half.

Antoine Griezmann put Atletico ahead early in the second half with a close-range header after a cross by Thomas Lemar, and Dani Parejo evened the match again by converting a 77th-minute penalty awarded after video review for a handball by Saul Niguez inside the box.

It was one of the lowest attendances of the season for Atletico, with the match played under steady rain at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Later Wednesday, Leganes hosts Athletic Bilbao and Celta Vigo visits Espanyol.

Source: FOX Sport

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