Atletico Madrid missed a glorious chance to go clear at the top of La Liga. Having earlier watched Barcelona fail to beat Levante, Diego Simeone’s side achieved the exact same result at home to Sevilla. A 1-1 draw that keeps them behind Barca on goal difference.
The Vicente Calderon stadium should be renamed the Vicente Cauldron this season as the fans have been ramping up the atmosphere and the decibels. The party spirit before kick off yesterday was frenzied, this was their chance to go top and they would snatch it with both hands. What could go wrong.
Sevilla had other ideas, they hadn’t just come to defend, they attacked with pace whenever possible and caused real problems for the hosts.
It was end to end excitement, but the deadlock was broken after 18 minutes when David Villa smashed the ball through a crowd of players after Sevilla keeper Beto failed to deal with a Gabi cross. Villa’s strike partner Diego Costa endured another barren game, however. After seeming unstoppable in 2013 he has yet to score in the new calendar year.
Although Atletico continued to set up chances and had more possession, their lead never looked comfortable. Sevilla’s deserved equaliser arrived from the penalty spot on 73 minutes. Juanfran tugged Carlos Bacca’s shirt in the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. The fans and especially Diego Simeone were enraged by the decision. Up stepped Rakitic who made no mistake, and the mood of the Atleti fans was considerably dampened.
Atletico’s attacks became increasingly frantic, but Sevilla held firm, even after the late, late dismissal of their right back Coke. Only one point now separates the top three in La Liga and the team who are going into the latter stages on the best form? Real Madrid.