MADRID (AP) — Atlético Madrid was held to a 1-1 draw at Levante on Wednesday in a Spanish league match postponed from the second round, a result that still extended its lead over Real Madrid to six points.
Seeking its first league title since 2014, Atlético still has a game in hand compared to its city rival. Diego Simeone’s team is unbeaten in 11 straight league matches but has drawn two of its last three.
The match had been postponed as Atlético and other teams were given extra time to rest after participating in European competitions later into last season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Atlético had won nine of its last 10 league matches, with the only setback a 2-2 home draw against Celta Vigo two rounds ago in a game in which it conceded a late equalizer.
“It was a difficult opponent that has been playing well recently,” Simeone said. “It was a fair result between two teams that played a good match.”
Levante took the lead through Enis Bardhi after a breakaway in the 17th minute. Marcos Llorente equalized for the visitors in the 37th with a shot from outside the area that deflected off a defender before going in.
Ángel Correa had a great chance to score the winner early in the second half but missed the net from close range with only the goalkeeper to beat off the rebound of a shot by Luis Suárez.
Atlético forward Saúl Ñíguez had a goal disallowed for offside near the end and Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak made a great save in the final minutes to keep the match level.
“We had some clear chances but also could have lost the match at the end,” Simeone said, noting that his team needs to improve defensively after conceding eight goals in the last six matches.
Levante and Atlético will meet again on Saturday in Madrid in the 24th round.
Atlético has a tough schedule ahead, with matches against Chelsea in the Champions League and Villarreal and Real Madrid in the Spanish league.
Simeone’s team saw the return of João Félix after a positive coronavirus test, though he started on the bench. Moussa Dembélé, Thomas Lemar and Héctor Herrera remained out because of the virus. Defender José María Giménez was back in the squad after an injury.
Levante, sitting in 11th place, hasn’t won in its last seven league matches against Atlético, with five losses and two draws. It is winless in the league since a victory at Real Madrid three rounds ago, though it recently made it to the semifinals of the Copa del Rey for the first time in 86 years.
Midfielder Koke Resurrección made his 484th official appearance for Atlético to surpass Tomás Reñones and become the player with the second most matches in the club’s history, behind the 550 of Adelardo Rodríguez.
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