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Atletico defeat hands Barcelona title boost

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The league leaders dropped points again on Sunday

Sevilla FC v Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Barcelona’s title hopes were handed a big boost on Sunday as league leaders Atletico Madrid again dropped points, going down 1-0 away at Sevilla.

Marcos Acuna scored the winner for the hosts after 70 minutes, although Sevilla should have opened the scoring when Ivan Rakitic won a penalty. Lucas Ocampos took the kick but saw his effort saved by goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

The winning goal came when Jesus Navas sent a cross into the box for Acuna to head past Oblak at the far post. Atletico had a great chance to level in the 90th minute but Angel Correa saw an effort blocked by Bono at point blank range.

The result means that Barca can cut the gap to Atletico to just one point if they beat Real Valladolid at the Camp Nou on Monday night. Ronald Koeman’s side head into the match on an 18-match unbeaten run, while Real Valladolid are without a host of players due to injury an illness.

If Barca do win tomorrow it would place the title in the Catalans’ hands with nine games of the 2020-21 season to go, given they host Atletico at the Camp Nou in May.

Atletico’s latest defeat looks set to set up an exciting end of the season. Diego Simeone’s side were 10 points clear of Barca at the end of January with a game in hand but have suffered since which has allowed Koeman’s side and Real Madrid back into the title race.

There’s likely to be another twist in the title race next weekend when Barca and Real Madrid meet in the second Clasico of the season. The result could go a long way to deciding the title and there’s no doubt Atletico will be watching with interest before their fixture against Betis on Sunday.