Atletico keeps pace with Barca

Atletico keeps pace with Barca

Gimenez's header found Griezmann, who tucked in a neat finish to open the floodgates for Celta Vigo at home.

Atleti got back to winning ways as they brushed aside a lacklustre Celta Vigo to keep the gap to La Liga leaders Barca to eight points after goals from Griezmann, Vitolo and Angel Correa.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Gabi admits he's spoken to Antoine Griezmann about his future. Celta are ninth. Barcelona were 2-0 winners at Malaga on Saturday with Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho on target, as Lionel Messi missed the game to attend the birth of his third child. The effort left coach Diego Simeone exuberantly punching the air in celebration.

"My hope is that we arrive in the last five matches still in with a chance", he explained in his post-match press conference. "Then we will see what happens". Atletico nearly immediately went 2-0 ahead when Griezmann's cleverly disguised reverse pass released Vitolo to clip neatly over goalkeeper Ruben Blanco to the net.

"I talk about realities, and not suppositions", Simeone said. "Tomorrow is another day".

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Sevilla stayed fifth but 11 points behind Valencia in the fight for a Champions League spot next season.

Atletico next face Lokomotiv Moscow - with a three-goal advantage - in the second leg of their round of 16 Europa League tie on Thursday.

Las Palmas remain in the relegation places after losing 2-0 at home to Villarreal, whose victory maintains their bid for European football next season. Las Palmas, winless in six matches, stayed in 18th place and is four points from safety. Earlier yesterday, Gerard Moreno got the victor, his 12th goal of the season, as Espanyol beat Real Sociedad 2-1.

Moreno got the victor off the rebound of his missed penalty kick, which was initially saved by former Atletico goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya.

Raul Garcia scored twice in the first 20 minutes to lead Athletic Bilbao to a 2-0 win over visiting Leganes, ending the team's three-match winless streak in all competitions. Leganes dropped to 15th.

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