Soriano hands Villarreal shock win at Atletico

MADRID: Villarreal kept their slim hopes of Champions League football next season alive as Roberto Soriano’s late winner shocked Atletico Madrid 1-0 at the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday.

A battle between the two best defences in La Liga was unsurprisingly settled by a single goal when the Italian knocked in a cross from fellow substitute Cedric Bakambu in the 82nd minute after an error from Filipe Luis allowed the visitors to break quickly down the right hand side.

Villarreal have the second best defensive record in the league after Atletico but it took a series of fine saves from their goalkeeper Andres Fernandez to thwart Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa and Nicolas Gaitan in either half before Soriano put the visitors ahead.

Atletico winger Yannick Carrasco was forced off in the 72nd minute with a sprained collarbone after clashing with Villarreal defender Antonio Rukavina, putting his participation in next week’s Champions League semi-final first leg at Real Madrid in doubt.

Victory hauls Villarreal to 60 points, within five points of fourth-placed Sevilla, who have a game in hand, and eight of Atletico in third but four in front of sixth-placed Athletic Bilbao, who host Real Betis on Thursday.

The top four clubs qualify for the Champions League, while the teams in fifth and sixth places will play in the Europa League.

“We tried to score every possible way but it just wasn’t meant to be,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “We couldn’t capitalize on our chances and they executed well in the counterattack and ended winning the match.”


At the bottom of the table, Tony Adams remains without a point in three matches in charge at Granada after Sandro Ramirez’s double earned Andalusian rivals Malaga a 2-0 win at Nuevo Los Carmenes.

Granada are 19th on 20 points with four games left of the campaign, seven points adrift of Leganes, who occupy the final place outside the relegation zone and have a game in hand, and could be relegated as early as Saturday should they fail to win at Real Sociedad.

Granada haven’t scored any goals since Adams replaced the sacked Lucas Alcaraz earlier this month.

Former Barcelona winger Ramirez produced the few true moments of quality with a rasping drive from outside the area two minutes into the second-half before sealing the victory in stoppage time with his fifth goal in as many games.

Sporting Gijon also failed to give their chances of survival a boost as they were held 1-1 at home to Espanyol to remain three points adrift of safety.

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