A tale of wasted chances: Atletico Madrid 0-0 Athletic

Madrid, Sep 18 (EFE).- Defending LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid had to settle for a scoreless draw here Saturday with Athletic Bilbao in a match that saw proven goal scorers for both teams squander the handful of opportunities that presented themselves.

The Colchoneros remain top of the table on 11 points, just a point ahead of capital rivals Real Madrid and third-place Valencia, who will face other Sunday.

Athletic are fourth with 9 points.

Atleti fans are certain to complain about overzealous officiating by referee Jesus Gil Manzano, who expelled Joao Felix in the 78th minute, less than 20 minutes after the striker came on as a sub for Angel Correa.

Manzano booked Felix for swinging an arm as an Athletic player was clutching his shirt and then produced a second yellow card when the Portugal international protested.

But the hosts were struggling in the final third before going down to 10 men.

After starting Felix and Luis Suarez up front for Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Porto, coach Diego Simeone opted to go with Angel Correa and Antoine Griezmann, recently returned to Atletico after a two-year spell in Barcelona.

But the Frenchman muffed his shot on a great chance in the 15th minute and Simeone replaced him with Suarez 10 minutes into the second half.

Correa also failed to seize the moment when Renan Lodi’s pass found him in front of goal in the 47th minute, heading wide of the post.

Athletic’s Iñaki Williams missed the target in the 49th and the player who replaced him for the final stretch, Asier Villalibre, fired over the cross-bar when he had a chance to steal all 3 points for the visitors in the 90th minute. EFE id/dr

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