Atletico lead La Liga at halfway point

Madrid, Jan 11: Antoine Griezmann and Yannick Carrasco scored second half goals to give Atletico Madrid a 2-0 away win against Celta Vigo to keep them top of the table as the La Liga reached its midway point.

The football game was played in difficult conditions on Sunday after heavy rainfall in the north-west of Spain, but Atletico, who included Augusto Ferndez, recently signed from Celta in their starting 11, were their usual rock-solid selves, reports Xinhua.

Once French striker Griezmann opened the scoring with his 10th goal of the season four minutes after the break, there was no looking back and with Celta inoperative in attacking, Carrasco sealed the win with 11 minutes remaining.

With this win, Diego Simeone’s Atletico have 44 points from 19 games, while Barcelo are second with 42 points but they have played a game less. Real Madrid are third with 40 points from 19 matches.

Two goals from Cedric Bakambu helped Villarreal strengthen their grip on fourth place in the table as they beat struggling Sporting Gijon 2-0 on Sunday lunchtime.

Levante defeated Rayo Vallecano 2-1 in a game between the bottom two sides of the league. All of the goals came in the last 18 minutes as Deyverson and Jose Luis Morales put Levante 2-0 ahead before Pablo Herndez gave Rayo hope with seven minutes remaining.

Kevin Gameiro scored twice, the second a pelty which should not have been given, as Sevilla defeated Athletic Club Bilbao 2-0 in the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium while Pepe Mel’s job at Betis is very much on the line after his side’s dreadful run of form continued with a 0-1 defeat away to Getafe.

Jothas’ first two goals of the season gave Real Sociedad a 2-0 win at home to Valencia. The Brazilian scored in the 78th and 82nd minute to mean that Gary Neville is still searching for his first league win as Valencia coach.

Eibar’s incredible season continues and they move sixth in the table after Japanese midfielder Inui and Borja Baston saw them to a deserved 2-1 win at home to Espanyol, while Las Palmas and Malaga continue to recover and shared the points thanks to second half goals from Ta and Roque Santa Cruz. IANS

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