Leaders Atletico held by Levante after glaring Correa miss


Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid failed to move eight points clear at the top of La Liga on Wednesday as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Levante in a game which saw a dreadful miss from Angel Correa.

Diego Simeone’s men sit six points clear of second-placed Real Madrid and have a game in hand, but have seen their control of the title race slip slightly after two draws in three matches.

Atletico are looking for a first league title since their shock triumph in 2014 but suffered a setback in this delayed encounter.

Hosts Levante took a surprise lead in the 17th minute as they broke at pace before Jorge de Frutos played in Enis Bardhi to slot past a stranded Jan Oblak in the Atletico goal.

Simeone’s away side continued to dominate possession but struggled to create clear-cut chances until scoring a fortunate equaliser eight minutes before half-time.

Marcos Llorente’s speculative long-range effort was nodded past his own goalkeeper by Levante centre-back Rober Pier.

The 26-year-old Llorente, having never scored a La Liga goal before last February, has netted 11 times in the league since.

Levante goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez had to be alert to prevent Atletico taking the lead shortly afterwards, diving low to palm away Luis Suarez’s fierce volley.

Atletico should have forged ahead shortly after the break, as after Fernandez had saved from Suarez, Angel Correa inexplicably blazed over an open net from barely six yards out.

The league leaders missed further chances through Llorente and Suarez, but it was Levante who should have snatched all three points in the 89th minute.

Carlos Clerc’s brilliant volley appeared goalbound, but was kept out by the diving Oblak.

The two teams face each other again, this time in the capital, on Saturday.

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