Madrid, Nov 10 (UiTV/IANS) – Atletico Madrid take their dismal form into the break for the FIFA World Cup after slipping to a 1-0 defeat to Mallorca in their last match before the break in the Spanish La Liga.
Vedat Muriqi’s eighth goal of the season on Wednesday night condemned Atletico to their third defeat in four games in all competitions in a run that has seen them drop out of the top four in Spain and crash out of Europe.
Atletico improved after a poor first half, but paid for some wayward finishing, while Mallorca keeper Predrag Rajkovic made two good saves to deny Spain international Alvaro Morata.
Atletico’s last game before the break is a Copa del Rey tie away to fifth-tier Almazan on Saturday night.
An own goal by Espanyol keeper Benjamin Lecomte gave Villarreal coach Quique Setien his first win since replacing Unai Emery.
The keeper had saved Yeremy Pino’s shot, but the ball fell to Alberto Moreno and Lecomte could only turn his low cross into his own net, while at the other end Geronimo Rulli made several big saves to deny Espanyol.
The win lifts some pressure off Setien, who had struggled in his first four games in charge at the club, while the home fans ended the game calling for the club’s directors to resign, reports Xinhua.
Real Sociedad won 2-1 at Sevilla, who spent an hour playing with nine men after Ivan Rakitic and Tanguy Nianzou were sent off in the 28th and 33rd minutes respectively for direct red cards.
Rakitic caught Brais Mendez’s heel and was unlucky to walk, while Nianzou’s marching orders were well deserved after a bad foul on the same player.
The visitors had taken the lead in the 19th minute after Alexander Sorloth latched onto Mikel Merino’s through ball, and against nine men, Mendez doubled their lead in the 36th minute.
Sevilla showed their courage and Rafa Mir got them back into the game in the 43rd minute, but despite a Herculean effort, Sevilla were unable to grab what would have been an epic point in the second half, and they remain without a win at home this season.
Getafe remain in deep trouble after Leo Baptistao’s solitary goal condemned them to a 1-0 defeat away to Almeria, who will spend the World Cup in a comfortable mid-table position.