By David Awopetu
La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid offered some hope to Real Madrid and Barcelona of getting back into the title race after they could only draw 1-1 at Levante on Wednesday.
The game, postponed from the start of the season, offered Atletico the chance to move further away from nearest challengers Real Madrid but Diego Simeone’s side dropped points for the second time in three games.
They are still in the driving seat for a first title since 2014, leading Real by six points – with a game in hand – and Barcelona by nine points, but the chasers will hope for a similar outcome at the weekend when the sides meet again at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Atletico, who created 28 efforts on goal, were thwarted by goalkeeper Dani Cardenas on several occasions.
Levante’s 23-year-old keeper was in superb form, notably stopping Joao Felix’s strike from point-blank range before blocking a thumping half-volley from the Portuguese forward. He also scrambled across his goal to keep out a late low drive from Renan Lodi.
When Cardenas was beaten, the post saved him, with Luis Suarez’s brilliant 30-yard free-kick thundering off the woodwork.
Levante were a threat during counter-attacks, especially in the first-half. Morales had missed a golden chance before he converted his second with a low strike that came off the leg of defender Felipe.
With seconds remaining, Levante scored their second. Atletico keeper Jan Oblak joined his team-mates for a corner, but was stranded when the visitors broke away with De Frutos finding the empty goal with a superb finish.
This was Levante’s first win at Atletico in the league, and it was also the first home league defeat for Diego Simeone’s side since December 2019.