MADRID ⸺ La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid drew 0-0 away to struggling Getafe on Saturday, despite playing the latter stages of the game with an extra man, offering renewed hope to title rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Getafe’s Allan Nyom was shown a red card after a VAR review for a crunching tackle on Atletico’s Renan Lodi in the 70th minute but the visitors could not make their advantage count.
Atletico did manage to put the ball in the net in the second half when Joao Felix nodded in a cross from Marcos Llorente but it did not count as the ball had gone out of play.
Substitute Moussa Dembele missed two good chances to score in the closing stages while Luis Suarez hit the post with a sumptuous chip and Atletico had to settle for a draw which interrupted a remarkable run of 13 consecutive league wins over their Madrid neighbours.
Diego Simeone’s side lead the standings on 63 points while Real Madrid are second on 57 after beating Elche 2-1 on Saturday and third-placed Barcelona can reduce the gap behind Atletico to four points if they beat Huesca at home on Monday.
Getafe are 15th on 28.
“We have two monsters behind us who want to be where we are and it’s normal that they’re putting the pressure on us, we have been leaders for a long time,” said Simeone.
“Madrid are winning games, Barcelona are full of hope and enthusiasm but we’ll continue to take each game as it comes.”
Atletico had been denied all three points in last week’s derby at home to Real by an 88th minute equaliser from Karim Benzema but earned a significant 2-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao in Wednesday’s game in hand to cement their advantage at the top.
This felt like a step back and Simeone conceded his side had not played well in the first half.
“We were excited about the prospect of winning and maintaining our advantage but our first half was not good, we couldn’t get the ball moving well, we couldn’t counterattack and we were not direct enough,” he added.
“We improved in the second half and had many chances to score and overall I feel we are playing well.”
Atletico must now lift themselves back up for Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg at Chelsea, where they need to overturn a 1-0 deficit.
“We did a lot of things well today but if you only draw it means you have not done enough,” added Atletico keeper Jan Oblak.
“Getafe play a tough brand of football, a little different from the rest and it’s never been easy against them.”
Getafe have now failed to score against Atletico in 19 consecutive games in all competitions since Simeone took charge in 2012 but they had several chances to take the lead, going closest when Enes Unal fired at goal from inside the box but was foiled by Oblak.
Getafe keeper David Soria was even more decisive, keeping out an early strike from Yannick Carrasco then thwarting Dembele late in the second half.
Dembele was fortunate not to concede a penalty when he appeared to foul Nemanja Maksimovic while defending a corner.
“It was a clear penalty, I’ve seen it again and I don’t know why they did not review the play,” said a displeased Getafe coach Jose Bordalas.
The French forward had another chance to snatch a goal, meeting a cross from Lodi but glancing just wide of the far post.
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis; Reuters