MADRID: Atltico Madrid defeated Valencia 1-0 with a late own-goal to extend its winning streak to six matches in the Spanish league on Saturday.
The own-goal by Valencia defender Toni Lato in the 79th minute left Atltico tied with Real Sociedad at the top of the standings with a game in hand. Sociedad hosts third-placed Villarreal on Sunday.
The goal came after the ball hit Latos leg following a low cross by Atltico midfielder Yannick Carrasco from the left flank. The ball ricocheted backward and struck the post before going in.
Luck also plays a role sometimes, said Carrasco, who came into the match in the second half. It’s always hard to play here, so we are happy to have won the match.
Atltico is yet to trail in the league and remains the only unbeaten team. It hasn’t lost in the league in 25 matches, going back to last season.
Diego Simeone’s team has a decisive match against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Everyone knows that we only think about our next match, Simeone said. We have a huge one in front of us and we obviously need a good result.
Simeone was moved by a pre-match tribute to former Argentina teammate Diego Maradona at Mestalla Stadium.
I believed it was important to say one final goodbye by applauding him, Simeone said.
Valencia dropped to 10th place after failing to beat Atltico for a 12th straight time in league since 2014.
We are disappointed with the result because we worked very hard and deserved at least a point, Valencia goalkeeper Jaume Domnech said. They took advantage of an unfortunate play and left with the victory. We have to be happy with the team’s attitude and take that to our next matches.
It was Geoffrey Kondogbias first match against former club Valencia since transferring to Atltico.
Earlier, Elche and fifth-place Cdiz drew 1-1 in a match between promoted clubs. Elche opened the scoring with Lucas Boy in the first half and the visitors equalized through lvaro Gimnez Candela in the second half. Elche played a man down after Boy was sent off for a second yellow card in first-half stoppage time.
Fourth-placed Real Madrid hosted Alavs late Saturday.
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