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Atlético, Barça neck and neck as Madrid slip up

Club Atlético de Madrid maintained a one-point Liga advantage over FC Barcelona as both teams won on a night when Real Madrid CF fell to defeat at Sevilla FC.

Liga: 26 March ©Getty Images

Club Atlético de Madrid retained pole position on a night of ebb and flow in the Spanish championship race.

Diego Simeone's side made it four straight Liga victories with a narrow 1-0 home success over mid-table Granada CF to climb a point clear of FC Barcelona, the evening's earlier winners and interim leaders. Diego Costa made the difference for Atlético with a 63rd-minute header from José Sosa's cross – the forward's 24th top-flight goal of the campaign. The Rojiblancos are chasing their first league crown since 1996.

Earlier, and buoyed by their 4-3 triumph at Real Madrid CF in Sunday's Clásico, Barcelona made light work of RC Celta de Vigo to temporarily move two points above Atlético and the Merengues at the Liga summit. Neymar scored in either half, with Lionel Messi adding No2 on the half-hour in a 3-0 Camp Nou victory. However, Barcelona's evening was marred by a serious knee injury to goalkeeper Víctor Valdés.

With Atlético and Barça prevailing, the onus was on Real Madrid to follow suit away to Sevilla FC – but instead Carlo Ancelotti's men suffered their second defeat in four days to drop three points off the pace. Madrid seemed set to bounce back from their weekend disappointment when Cristiano Ronaldo fired in a 14th-minute free-kick, via a touch from Sevilla's Carlos Bacca. However, the Sevilla No9 made amends by equalising four minutes later and then Bacca conjured the 73rd-minute winner past Diego López.

Further down the table Rayo Vallecano de Madrid lifted themselves away from danger thanks to a 1-0 home victory over CA Osasuna. Joaquin Larrivey's 90th-minute penalty boosted the hosts while leaving Osasuna perched perilously above the drop zone in 17th. On Tuesday, RCD Espanyol had reached 40 points and eighth position courtesy of a 2-1 success at Málaga CF. Fourth-placed Athletic Club had to content themselves with a 0-0 draw at Elche CF.

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