Dismal weekend for top three in La Liga
Posted on May 05 2014 | IANS
Madrid, May 5 : Levante turned the race for the Spanish Primera Liga on its head beating league leaders Atletico Madrid 2-0. Real Madrid had a chance to close the gap but they too fluffed their lines to hand the initiative back to their city rivals.
A win for Atletico at the Ciudad de Valencia Stadium Sunday would have meant that a victory at home to Malaga next weekend would have been enough to secure their first league title since 1996, but now Diego Simeone's side have to win their last two matches of the campaign to assure the title, reports Xinhua.
Atletico's morale was sky high on the back of qualifying for the Champions League final and they were followed by several thousand fans, hopeful of seeing their side take a massive step to assuring the title.
Those hopes were dashed when Felipe Luis was unfortunate to score an own goal following a ball from Papa Diop and David Barral scored Levante's second in the 66th minute.
That defeat gave Real Madrid the chance to close the gap to just three points and with a game in hand, but Real also fluffed their lines with a 2-2 draw at home to Valencia.
Valencia twice took the lead through Jeremy Matthieu and former Real youngster, Dani Parejo, but Sergio Ramos and a 92nd minute goal from Cristiano Ronaldo rescued a point for Real Madrid, who will move two points behind Atletico if they win their midweek game in Valladolid.
Atletico Madrid's defeat and Real's draw makes FC Barcelona's 2-2 draw at home to Getafe Saturday even more painful for the Catalans to accept.
Angel Lafita scored a last minute header which stopped Barca pulling to within a point of Atletico, who have to play in the Camp Nou Stadium on the last day of the season.
Barca had twice taken the lead through Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez, but Latifa's late header denied them two vital points, which would have at least kept them in the title race and after the game Barca coach, Tata Martino implied that he would not be staying with the club for next season.
The upshot of all those dropped points is that if Atletico take four points from two games, they will still be champions.