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LaLiga: Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid continue poor run of form with 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao – Firstpost

LaLiga: Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid continue poor run of form with 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao - Firstpost 1

LaLiga: Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid continue poor run of form with 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao - Firstpost 2

Madrid: Atletico Madrid’s struggles continued as their season resumed with a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday for their third straight draw in the Spanish league.

The setback kept Diego Simeone’s team in sixth place, outside the Champions League spots.

The goals at the empty San Mames Stadium came a couple of minutes apart late in the first half, with Athletic’s Iker Muniain scoring first and Atletico equalizing with a goal from Diego Costa.

It was the 13th league draw for Atletico, who have only two wins in their last nine league matches.

“We earned a draw at a tough place but we need to start winning three points if we want to stay in contention to qualify for the Champions League,” Atlético midfielder Jorge “Koke” Resurrección said. “It will be difficult if we don’t start winning matches.”

The league resumed Thursday after more than three months since being interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic as leaders Barcelona opened with a 4-0 rout at Mallorca on Saturday.

Atletico’s last match before the break had been an away victory against Liverpool that eliminated the titleholders in the Champions League round of 16. But Atlético had drawn their last two league matches — against Sevilla and Espanyol — to drop in the standings and remain far from the leaders. They trail Barcelona by 15 points with 10 rounds left.

Atletico have the same 46 points as fifth-place Getafe and fourth-place Real Sociedad. Getafe lost at Granada on Friday..

Athletic, who had won two in a row before the break, stayed in 10th place.

Muniain opened the scoring for the hosts from inside the area in the 37th minute but Costa equalized two minutes later after a well-placed through-ball by “Koke.”

It was the first goal for Costa since a league game last October. During the celebration, he held the jersey of Atletico women’s team player Virginia Torrecilla, who is recovering from brain surgery to remove a tumor.

Atletico defender Santiago Arias had a chance for the winner in the 80th but his close-range shot was saved by Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simon.

Simeone made all five substitutions that are now being allowed for teams, while Athletic’s Gaizka Garitano made four.

It was Athletic’s first game since striker Aritz Aduriz announced his retirement. The 39-year-old Aduriz decided not to come back once the season resumed after doctors said he would need a hip replacement.





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