SPORTS: Atletico Madrid strengthened their leadership at the top of La Liga with a 2-1 win away to Granada on Saturday lunchtime to ease fears that Diego Simeone’s men were suffering from an attack of nerves.

Atletico’s 2-2 draw at home to Celta last Monday, which came with several players out with COVID-19, had provoked fears they could drop more points in the difficult Los Carmenes Stadium.

However, the return of Yannick Carrasco and Mario Hermoso after recovering from the coronavirus improved Atletico and after a tight first half, Marcos Llorente put the visitors ahead with a powerful left-foot shot.

Yangel Herrera’s deflected shot drew Granada level, but Angel Correa also had luck on his side as his effort hit a defender and looped into the net with 15 minutes left to play.

Real Madrid remain five points behind, (although they have played two more games) after an easy 2-0 win at home to a very tepid Valencia on Sunday afternoon.

First-half goals from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos gave Madrid all three points, although they suffered a setback when full-back Dani Carvajal had to leave the pitch with yet another injury.

FC Barcelona reacted well to their midweek Cup defeat to Sevilla and got a morale boost ahead of their Champions League clash against Paris Saint-Germain next week as they thrashed Alaves 5-1 on Saturday.

Francisco Trincao scored twice in his first La Liga start for Barca, while Leo Messi netted another brace and Junior Firpo also scored for a Barca side which saw Koeman rest several players ahead of next week’s tie.

Sevilla has goalkeeper Bono to thank for a string of saves that kept Huesca at bay before Munir el Haddadi’s 57th-minute goal gave them a 1-0 win that strengthens their position in fourth.

Bono hasn’t conceded a goal in 709 minutes of football and has been vital in his side’s recent run.

Alexander Isak’s sixth goal in six games gave Real Sociedad a 1-0 win away to Getafe, who look as if they couldn’t buy a win at the moment, and to make matters worse for the home side, coach Jose Bordalas was sent off again for the second time in a week after a touchline incident.

That win lifted Real Sociedad above Villarreal, whose run of games without a win extended to six after a 2-1 defeat at home to Betis. Nabil Fekir opened the scoring just before halftime and Merson doubled the lead early in the second half.

Gerard Moreno reduced the difference from the penalty spot after Emerson was harshly penalized for a handball.

Osasuna climb to midtable after a 1-0 win away to a much-changed Levante thanks to a 74th-minute goal from Ante Budimir and a 77th-minute penalty save from Sergio Herrera, who denied Jose Luis Morales.

Eibar and Valladolid drew 1-1 to leave Eibar fourth from the bottom and Valladolid in the relegation zone. Valladolid took an early lead through Roque Mesa’s penalty before Kike Garcia equalized for Eibar following a cross from the impressive Bryan Gil.

Celta Vigo beat Elche 3-1 on Friday night – a result which led to Elche coach Jorge Almiron to resign with Fran Escriba named as his replacement on Sunday.

Xinhua