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3-min read

La Liga: Sevilla lose, Atletico Madrid win

Athletic Bilbao defeated Sevilla 2-1 to extend their unbeaten run to eight games in the Spanish league.

test sharma | Associated Press

Updated:November 21, 2011, 4:21 AM IST
La Liga: Sevilla lose, Atletico Madrid win
Athletic Bilbao defeated Sevilla 2-1 to extend their unbeaten run to eight games in the Spanish league.

Barcelona: Athletic Bilbao defeated Sevilla 2-1 on Sunday to extend their unbeaten run to eight games in the Spanish league and move into the European positions for the first time this season.

While the match lacked the exhilarating atmosphere of Bilbao's 2-2 draw with Barcelona in the last round, Marcelo Bielsa's team reaffirmed their transformation into one of the league's most explosive sides by taking the game to their hosts from the start.

"Our rivals played at a faster pace and we couldn't keep up," said Sevilla coach Marcelino Garcia. "(Bilbao) makes you play at a different defensive level, testing you in many one-on-one situations, and we lost almost all of them."

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid beat fourth-placed Levante 3-2, a third straight loss for the unheralded club after a memorable start to the season that had taken them to the top of the table for the first time in their history.

Andoni Iraola gave Bilbao an early lead in the sixth minute with a sharply-taken strike from outside the area to put the visitors on their way to a first win at Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in 18 years. Jesus Navas pulled Sevilla even in the 15th, but Bilbao never lost their attacking verve and Oscar de Marcos put the Basques back ahead for good in the 71st when the leftback stole the ball, raced onto Iker Muniain's through-pass and rolled home his own rebound.

"Sevilla are a team with good strikers and in the second half we were able to keep them in check, while in attack we were consistent throughout," Bielsa said.

Bilbao's second away win of the season lifted them one point behind fifth-placed Sevilla, who have gone five games without a win.

Atletico's game against Levante finally came to life at Vicente Calderon stadium after a dull first half. Luis "Pizzi" Afonso put Atletico in front in the 68th when the forward ran on to fellow substitute Jose Antonio Reyes' pass and fired through the legs of Levante goalkeeper Gustavo Munua.

Levante equalized with a goal by Xavi Torres four minutes later, only for striker Adrian Lopez to immediately respond with a headed goal to reclaim the lead for Atletico before Diego added what proved to be the decisive third goal. Ruben Suarez narrowed the deficit for Levante with a goal on the whistle.

"Atletico are a great team with a lot of firepower and talent," said Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martinez. "But we played a good game and I am happy, even though we leave with the feeling that we could have gotten a draw."

Atletico stayed unbeaten at home and will hope the victory bolsters their chances next week in the Spanish-capital derby at leaders Real Madrid.

Earlier, Nacho Novo scored late to cap Sporting Gijon's 2-1 comeback win over 10-man Getafe, while Osasuna-Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad-Espanyol both ended in scoreless draws.

Nicolas "Miku" Fedor grabbed Getafe's 35th-minute opener with a great individual effort, only for Sporting forward Oscar Trejo to level the score in first-half added time.

Getafe played a man down from the 61st after Abdel Barrada received his second booking, and Novo took advantage of his team's numerical advantage in the 89th when he headed in the winner.

After their poor start to the season, Sporting are undefeated in their last five games.

"We did everything we could and should to get the win," said Sporting coach Manolo Preciado. "We have to take advantage of this good run of play while it lasts."

The match between Granada and Mallorca was abandoned in the 63rd minute after a linesman was hit in the face by an umbrella thrown from the stands at Los Carmenes stadium, with Granada winning 2-1.

The remaining 27 minutes of the match will be played at a future date.

On Saturday, Madrid held off third-placed Valencia to win 3-2 and stay three points ahead of defending champions Barcelona, who thrashed Zaragoza 4-0. Also, Villarreal edged Real Betis 1-0.

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