Liga - Atlético miss chance to move top after draw with Sevilla

La Liga, Vicente Calderon - Atletico Madrid 1 (Villa 18') Sevilla 1 (Rakitic 73')

Liga - Atlético miss chance to move top after draw with Sevilla

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Atletico Madrid's David Villa fights for the ball with Sevilla's Jorge Andujar Moreno "Koke" (L) and Victor Machin "Vitolo" during their Spanish First Division match (Reuters)

Atletico Madrid missed the chance to claim top spot in La Liga, failing to make the most of Barcelona’s earlier slip-up at Levante with a 1-1 draw with Sevilla.

The reigning champions looked to have lost ground in the title race with a 1-1 draw with Levante earlier in the day, but Diego Simeone’s side could only match their result to put them level with Barca.

Atletico had taken the lead through David Villa, who scored his first goal in seven appearances, and looked set to claim three points. However a rash decision by Juanfran afforded Ivan Rakitic the chance to level from the spot. Sevilla were reduced to ten men late in the game but it had no bearing on the final score.

The result means Atletico and Barca sit only a point above Real Madrid in the league standings as the Liga title race tightens.

Simeone started a full strength team and indeed Atletico started the game at a rate of knots, taking just 18 minutes to break the deadlock, when Villa drilled a low shot into the net after Diego Godin had headed the ball back into the danger area from a corner kick.

The visitors were restricted to counter attacking breaks in the first half but came close to scoring a freak equaliser when Diego Costa’s clearance from inside his own box ricocheted off Federico Fazio and just past the post.

The tempo of the game dropped as the first half came to a close but Atletico appeared to be in control and cantering to top spot in the Spanish league table.

Unai Emery introduced Kevin Gameiro at half time to give his side more presence in attack and the switch had a positive impact on Sevilla, with Rakitic imposing himself on the contest.

Even still, the home side looked largely in control of the contest but conceded a penalty when Juanfran dragged Carlos Bacca back in the box. Rakitic stepped up to convert from 12 yards, despite Thibaut Courtois guessing the right way.

Atletico Madrid came flooding forward as they looked to regain the lead and their grip on top spot but Beto in the opposition goal dealt with everything that came his way.

Costa was cutting an increasingly frustrated figure, failing to get himself on the end of the service that was coming into the box from Filipe Luis on the left wing.

Alberto Moreno was shown a straight red card for a reckless tackle in the dying moments of the game, but Atletico couldn’t make their man advantage count as they missed the chance to take control of the title race.

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