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Atletico Madrid closed the gap on Barcelona to nine points at the top of La Liga, beating Valencia 1-0 on Sunday after the leaders had dropped points at local rivals Espanyol.
Angel Correa's thunderbolt from outside the area in the 59th minute helped Atletico to get a narrow win from a tight match, after Barcelona needed talisman centre back Gerard Pique to tie a spiky derby clash 1-1 in Cornella.
Barcelona have now gone a club record 22 league games without defeat, surpassing the total of 21 they managed under Pep Guardiola in the 2009-10 season.
Atletico were as miserly as ever at the back against Marcelino’s Valencia as the second and third-placed clubs met at the Wanda Metropolitano.
The hosts had the upper hand, with Neto tipping away a Saul Niguez piledriver from some distance and then repelling Diego Costa’s header from a corner.
Correa broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion in the 59th minute, receiving the ball from Koke and crashing a shot into the top right corner from outside the area for his sixth league goal of the season.
“There’s a very long way to go, we have to continue on the same path,” Correa told Movistar. “We knew it was important to win today and I‘m happy to get the goal that helped the team win.”
Race for second in Ligue 1 hots up as 10-man Monaco sink Lyon
Rony Lopes struck late to give 10-man Monaco a 3-2 home victory over Olympique Lyonnais as the race for second place in Ligue 1 intensified on Sunday.
Portugal striker Lopes found the back of the net two minutes from time, completing a fine Monaco fightback from two goals down.
Olympique Marseille, who crushed Metz 6-3 away on Friday, are second with 51 points from 24 games, ahead of Monaco on 50 and Lyon on 48.
Paris St Germain lead the table with 62 points after a 3-0 win at Lille on Saturday.
At Monaco’s Louis-II stadium, the visitors made a flying start.