Ten-man Atletico drop points

2015-03-14 20:20
Miranda (Getty Images)

Madrid - Champions Atletico Madrid surrendered third place in La Liga to Valencia when they had Miranda sent off for a brutal challenge in first-half added time and were held to a 0-0 draw at mid-table Espanyol on Saturday.

Atletico had the better chances at Espanyol's Cornella-El Prat stadium in Barcelona before centre back Miranda was shown a straight red card when he felled Abraham with a leading arm as the pair jumped for a bouncing ball.

Forward Fernando Torres had forced a fine save from Espanyol goalkeeper Kiko Casilla in the 11th minute and midfielder Koke fired narrowly wide a minute later.

Playing with a man fewer in the second period Atletico struggled to create scoring opportunities but Raul Garcia came close to breaking the deadlock 13 minutes from time when his low shot was brilliantly tipped away by Casilla.

Atletico, who are without a win in their last four games and need to overturn a 1-0 deficit when they host Bayer Leverkusen in a Champions League last 16, second leg tie on Tuesday, have 56 points in fourth with 11 games left.

Valencia have 57 after Friday's 2-0 success at home to Deportivo La Coruna, while fifth-placed Sevilla (49) can close to within four points of Atletico by beating Elche on Sunday.

Barcelona (62) can stretch their lead at the top over second-placed Real Madrid (61) to four points with a win at Eibar later on Saturday.

Real, who play the 'Clasico' at Barca next weekend and are winless in their last three outings, host struggling Levante on Sunday.

Read more on:    atletico madrid  |  la liga  |  soccer

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