Atletico Madrid nip Cadiz 2-1
Sports Desk, Mar 11 (EFE).- Atletico Madrid eked out a 2-1 victory over a tough Cadiz side Friday to take sole position of third place in LaLiga.
But while a fourth straight league win lifted the defending champions to 51 points, fourth-place Barcelona have 48 points and two games in hand.
Atleti got off to the best possible start in front of 50,000-plus at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid, thanks to a giveaway by Cadiz goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma transformed by Joao Felix into a 1-0 lead in the third minute.
Instead of collapsing, 18th-place Cadiz took command of the match, winning every individual battle and forcing the Colchoneros backward.
Chances materialized for Alfonso Espino, Ruben Sobrino, and Alvaro Negredo and the home side looked set to go down to 10 men in the 41 minute after the referee showed Reinildo Mandava a red card, but a VAR review downgraded the sanction to yellow.
The reprieve for Atleti did nothing to discourage Cadiz and Negredo brought the visitors level right before the break, heading in a cross from Espino.
Ousmama Idrissi forced a save from Atletico keeper Jan Oblak in the 57th minute and as the game entered the final stretch, Diego Simeone pulled Antoine Griezmann and Yannick Carrasco in favor of Angel Correa and Luis Suarez.
The change proved to be decisive, as Rodrigo de Paul’s go-ahead goal in the 68th minute came off the rebound of a shot from Correa.
But Cadiz battled on and only a goal-line intervention by Jose Maria Gimenez stopped Idrissi from equalizing in the 74th minute.
Atleti were reduced to 10 men with two minutes left in regulation when Javi Serrano picked up a straight red card just five minutes after coming on as a sub.
Idrissi hit the side netting with a strike in the final seconds.