Atletico Madrid closed the gap on second-placed Real Madrid to just two points in La Liga with a 2-1 victory over 10-man Rayo Vallecano on Sunday. Valencia suffered a damaging 2-1 defeat at Almeria, leaving them in the relegation zone, while nine-man Real Betis lost 2-0 at home against Cadiz, denting their hopes of Champions League qualification.
Defenders Nahuel Molina and Mario Hermoso scored two first-half goals just two minutes apart to give Atletico a commanding lead at Vallecas. Rayo Vallecano had defender Florian Lejeune sent off in the second half, allowing Atletico to cruise to victory. However, Fran Garcia’s powerful drive in the final stages gave the hosts some hope.
Atletico Madrid have been in superb form in 2023, remaining unbeaten in their last 12 league games and winning nine of those matches. Molina dedicated his goal to teammate Angel Correa, who was absent from the squad due to his mother’s recent passing.
Watch the highlights:
Atletico Madrid soon secured their second goal with Hermoso heading home from Carrasco’s corner. Despite missing several chances, Atletico held on for the win, moving six points ahead of Real Sociedad in fourth and closing in on Real Madrid.
Rayo Vallecano, currently ninth in the league, have failed to win in their last eight games. Real Betis, on the other hand, suffered a shock home defeat to Cadiz, leaving them in sixth place.
Real Mallorca managed to salvage a 3-3 draw against Real Valladolid with Vedat Muriqi scoring a brace, including a stoppage-time penalty. Barcelona, the league leaders, have the opportunity to extend their lead by 15 points with a win against Girona on Monday.