La Nucia, Spain, Jun 23 (efe-epa).- Atletico Madrid moved into third place in the LaLiga standings with a 1-0 away win Tuesday against Levante, a match that became more evenly contested after a fast start by the visitors.
Diego Simeone’s men were in full attack mode at the outset in this Matchday 31 Spanish-league contest played behind closed doors at Camilo Cano Stadium in this eastern town, laying siege to Levante’s penalty area and giving every indication they would take an early lead.
That score came in the 15th minute on a play set up by Marcos Llorente, who evaded two defenders before forcing an own-goal by Levante defender Bruno with a pass into the area to Diego Costa.
Atletico continued to control the action for the remainder of the second half, although the score remained 1-0 despite dangerous attempts on goal by Thomas Partey and Yannick Carrasco.
Levante started to pose more of a threat in Atletico’s half of the field after the intermission, a 45-minute stretch in which the two teams took turns forcing the ball into their opponent’s penalty area.
In one of those attacking forays, star Atleti striker Joao Felix has a clear opportunity to stretch his team’s lead but waited too long to pull the trigger and ended up sending his shot into the empty seats.
Levante, for their part, had their best chance with 10 minutes remaining on a play in which Toño worked his way brilliantly along the left wing and sent in a pass to Borja Mayoral, although the striker miscued his header to the chagrin of head coach Paco Lopez.
Levante then pinned Atletico back in their territory in the closing minutes but were unable to break down the visitors’ defensive wall.
With the win, Atleti (55 points) leapfrogged Sevilla into third place in the Spanish league standings. Levante are in 11th place with 38 points.
In another LaLiga game on Tuesday, 15th-place Valladolid and fifth-place Getafe played to a 1-1 draw at Jose Zorrilla Stadium. Jaime Mata put Getafe ahead at the 41-minute mark, but Enes Unal leveled for the home team in first-half injury time by converting from the penalty spot.
In a late game on Tuesday, FC Barcelona can take provisional possession of first place in LaLiga with a win at home over Athletic Bilbao. EFE-EPA