Updated March 4th, 2024 at 00:23 IST

Atletico Madrid rebounds from Copa elimination with 2-1 win against Real Betis in Spanish league

Leader Real Madrid, which drew 2-2 at Valencia on Saturday, is 11 points ahead of Atletico Madrid.

Atletico Madrid’s team players celebrate after Marcos Llorente scored their side’s first goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu | Image: AP
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Atletico Madrid rebounded from elimination in the Copa del Rey to strengthen its grip on fourth place in the Spanish league with a 2-1 win over Real Betis on Sunday.

It was only the second win in the last eight matches for Diego Simeone’s team, which was coming off a 4-0 aggregate loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Copa semifinals. Atletico also lost to Inter Milan in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League, and to Sevilla in the Spanish league.

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The victory at the Metropolitano Stadium left Atletico six points ahead of fifth-place Athletic, which hosts third-place Barcelona later Sunday. Atletico sits two points behind Barcelona in the final Champions League place.

Leader Real Madrid, which drew 2-2 at Valencia on Saturday, is 11 points ahead of Atletico. Second-place Girona, which visits Mallorca on Sunday, is four points ahead of Atletico.

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Sixth-place Betis has only one win in its last five matches in all competitions — against Athletic in the previous league round.

Atletico hadn’t won in three straight matches across all tournaments. It opened the scoring with an own-goal by Betis goalkeeper Rui Silva in the eighth minute after the defense failed to clear.

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Striker Álvaro Morata added to the lead with a close-range header in the 44th to end his seven-game scoreless streak. Morata had missed a penalty kick with Atletico winning 1-0 in the first half.

Betis got on the board with a long-range strike by midfielder William Carvalho in the 62nd.

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Atletico was still without forward Antoine Griezmann because of an ankle injury.

SORLOTH’S HAT TRICK

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Alexander Sorloth scored a hat trick as Villarreal routed second-to-last Granada 5-1 to move to 12th place.

Theodor Corbeanu scored in stoppage time for Granada, which hasn’t won in seven consecutive matches.

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Villarreal has won two in a row after three straight losses.

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Published March 4th, 2024 at 00:23 IST