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Atletico Madrid drop points against Levante

Valencia, Spain, Feb 17 (efe-epa).- Atletico Madrid were denied an opportunity to go 8 points clear at the top of LaLiga here Wednesday by a tenacious Levante side who forced the visitors to settle for a 1-1 draw.

The Colchoneros had most of the ball in the first half, but failed to turn possession into chances and Enis Bardhi opened the scoring for Levante with a goal on the counter in the 17th minute, assisted by Jorge De Frutos.

Unrattled by conceding, Atleti stuck with their approach and pulled level in the 37th minute thanks to Marcos Llorente, whose hopeful effort from distance deflected off Levante’s Rober Pier and past goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez, who didn’t have a chance.

Getting the equalizer inspired Atletico to press for the go-ahead goal.

Fernandez found himself under siege for the rest of the first half and had to come up with a quality save to stop Llorente from giving the visitors the lead before the break.

Atletico were poised to make it 1-2 three minutes into the second half when Angel Correa found himself with the ball alone in front of goal after Fernandez turned aside a blast from Luis Suarez, but the striker sent his shot over the cross-bar.

The hosts were better going forward and the contest entered a phase where the initiative shifted back and forth between the sides, though the more-talented Colchoneros continued to enjoy an edge.

Suarez couldn’t quite reach a cross from Llorente in the 76th minute and Atleti keeper Jan Oblak parried a volley by Carlos Clerc with two minutes left in regulation.

Atletico go to 55 points, 6 ahead of Real Madrid with a game in hand. Levante are 11th in the table on 28 points. EFE

ag/dr

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