Atletico Madrid extend lead in LaLiga

Sports Desk, Dec 30 (efe-epa).- Atletico Madrid maintained their grip on the top spot in LaLiga with a 1-0 victory Wednesday against Getafe.

Atleti won for the 10th time in 11 matches thanks to Luis Suarez, who now has eight goals in 11 appearances since coming over from Barcelona just before the start of the season.

The Uruguayan is two-thirds of the way to matching the 12 goals Alvaro Morata bagged as the club’s leading scorer for the entirety of the 2019-2020 campaign.

Diego Simeone’s 500th match as the coach of the Colchoneros was also his 301st victory, while Getafe remain without a win or even a goal against Atletico since 2011.

The capital side have outscored their suburban neighbors 34-0 in 18 matches in all competitions over the last nine years.

Atletico had the first chance, a shot by Thomas Lemar in the 15th minute that hit the post. The goal came five minutes later, as Suarez headed-in Yannick Carrasco’s cross off a free kick.

Getafe reacted forcefully against an Atleti side who were not at their best, yet they failed to execute on the handful of promising opportunities.

Angel, their best striker, didn’t do enough when he found himself in what looked like an ideal position in the 35th minute and Xabier Etxeita fired high two minutes later.

Enes Unal also sent the ball over the cross-bar when he had an opening to equalize for Getafe with three minutes left in regulation.

With the victory, Atletico have 35 of 42 possible points. Getafe sit 14th on 17 points, just 2 above the drop zone.

In Alicante, defending champions Real Madrid could manage only a 1-1 draw against modest Elche.

After staying level on points with Atletico for two weeks after besting them in the Madrid derby, the Blancos are now 2 points behind their cross-town rivals, who also have two games in hand and a substantial edge on goal difference.

Real Madrid took the lead in the 20th minute on a Luka Modric header after teammate Marco Asensio hit the cross-bar.

Seven minutes into the second half, however, Dani Carvajal was cited for grabbing Antonio Barragan’s shirt in the box and Elche’s Fidel converted the penalty to knot the score at 1-1.

Despite enjoying 68 percent possession and outshooting the hosts 6-3, Real Madrid could not find a winning goal. The point lifted Elche to 15th.

Granada fell behind to struggling Valencia before coming back to win 2-1 and climb to seventh in the table with 24 points.

Kevin Gameiro put the visitors up in the 36th minute, but Robert Kenedy brought the hosts level in first-half stoppage time and Jorge Molina went on to score the winner in the 88th minute.

Valencia played the final 20 minutes with 9 men, as Jason and Gonçalo Guedes were ejected in the 70th and 73rd minutes, respectively, three minutes before Granada saw Domingos Duarte sent off.

On just 15 points, Valencia are 17th, hovering just above the drop zone by virtue of goal difference.

Another team on the way up is Celta, who beat last-place Huesca 2-1 in Vigo on Wednesday to go eighth in LaLiga thanks to a good run of form under new coach Eduardo Coudet.

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