Despite playing the final stages of the game with an extra player, La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid drew 0-0 away to struggling Getafe on Saturday, giving title rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona renewed hope.
Karim Benzema saved Real Madrid once more by scoring two late goals in a 2-1 victory over Elche at home in La Liga on Saturday, reviving his team’s hopes of catching La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.
Real climbed into the second position in the table with 57 points, narrowing the gap on Atletico Madrid to six points. They are one point ahead of third-placed Barcelona, who play Huesca tonight.
Real’s emotional boost came from the last-gasp draw, which gave them a 1-0 lead going into Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Atalanta. “This win is extremely encouraging for us; we needed to keep picking up points for our league campaign as well as for Tuesday’s game,” he said. “We’re a character-filled team that’s still alive in two competitions, and we’re going to keep fighting and believing in ourselves.”
“We have two monsters behind us that want to be where we are, and, naturally, they’re putting pressure on us because we’ve been leaders for a long time,” Diego Simeone, the Atletico Madrid coach, said.
“Madrid is winning games, and Barcelona is full of hope and excitement, but we’ll take each game as it comes.”
Last week’s derby at home to Real was marred by an 88th-minute equalizer from Karim Benzema, but Atletico won a crucial 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao in the game in hand on Wednesday to maintain their lead at the top.
This felt like a setback, and Simeone admitted that his team had struggled in the first half. He said, “We were excited about the possibility of winning and keeping our lead, however, our first half was not good; we couldn’t get the ball moving well, we couldn’t counterattack, and we weren’t clear enough. We improved in the second half and had a lot of chances to score, so I think we’re doing okay.”