Madrid, Nov 6 (EFE).- Atletico Madrid, Real Sociedad and Villarreal all failed to win their La Liga matches on Sunday, temporarily halting their drives to gain berths in European competition.
Atletico – presently a team in crisis – had to settle for a 1-1 result at Metropolitano Stadium against down-in-the-dumps Espanyol, and couldn’t get anything going despite the visitors being shorthanded for more than an hour after Leandro Cabrera was red-carded in the 27th minute for a foul on Alvaro Morata.
Sergi Darder scored for Espanyol on a header from Joselu in the 62nd minute, but Joao Felix, coming off the bench, got a powerful low blast into the net in minute 78 for the capital squad, thus gaining at least one ranking point for Diego Simeone’s team.
Nevertheless, Atletico has gone winless in its last six outings in all competitions and, although they are in the No. 3 spot on the La Liga table, they are 10 points behind league leader Barcelona and eight in back of Real Madrid.
Espanyol, meanwhile, is in the 16th spot, just one point shy of the relegation zone.
Real Sociedad also had to play with just 10 men on the pitch after losing Aritz Elustondo in the early going to a red card, and seemingly they were lucky to emerge from their outing in San Sebastian against Valencia with a 1-1 result.
Guillamon scored an own-goal putting Real up by one just 10 minutes into the action, but Lino found the correct net for the visitors 14 minutes later and, despite the back-and-forth of the match all the way through, that was where the score remained until the final whistle.
Valencia controlled the ball almost three-quarters of the time at the Reale Arena and fired 14 shots to Real’s 9, although four of the latter’s shots were good chances to only 3 for the visitors. Meanwhile, Valencia got 11 corner kicks to just one for the home squad.
Elsewhere, Villarreal were blanked at home 2-0 by Mallorca on goals by Vedat Muriqi in the 32nd minute and Amath Ndiaye in minute 76.
Nothing seemed to go right for Villarreal at Ciutat de Valencia even though they controlled the ball for longer and kept up the attack, driving time and again into their rival’s end of the field. Mallorca, on the other hand, secured a well-deserved win, with Giovani Gonzalez being selected as the most valuable player in the match, having been instrumental in the victory.
Mallorca first got on the board with a great cross that ended up with Muriqi, who sent the ball into the top right corner, deflecting off of Raul Albiol on the way, after a good play by Dani Rodriguez and Gio Rodriguez The second tally came on a free kick into the box, which was headed out, but then Nidaye, in a brilliant shot, sent the ball into the top corner.
The hapless Villarreal was missing several key players but the fans in the stands didn’t spare their team, whistling and jeering at them as they went off the pitch at the break for their inability to find the opposing net, although in the 69th minute Chukwueze did get a chance that went wide.
Nevertheless, play deteriorated in the second half, with Setien’s men desperately lashing about looking for the tying tally, although Mallorca also played a pretty amorphous game until Nidaye’s hit.
In 1-1 the Sevilla-Real Betis derby, neither team managed to shine and, in fact, three red cards were handed out at Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville, Spain.
Sevilla’s Jesus Navas scored an own-goal just before the break after Gonzalo Montiel was expelled for the visitors on a play where he was initially handed a yellow card that was upped to a red after VAR.
Then, in injury time just before intermission, Nabil Fekir was also sent off and then just a few minutes after play resumed it was Borja Iglesias who earned a red card following VAR review.
Sevilla was on top during the second half against the nine-man Betis, but it took them until minute 81 to even things up on a long-range shot on goal by Nemanja Gudelj.
Gudelj also got another chance before the final whistle but his shot hit the crossbar.
With the result, Betis remains in fourth position, just behind Atletico on goal differential.