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Atletico lose to Sevilla, leave La Liga title race open

Source : IANS

La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid lost 1-0 at Sevilla to give hope to Real Madrid and Barcelona in the title race.

Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak saved Lucas Ocampos's penalty early on but was beaten by Marcos Acuna's second-half header on Sunday, DPA news reports.

Atletico are now three points clear of Real Madrid in second, on 66 points from 29 games.

Barcelona, third, face Real Valladolid on Monday and if they win will only be a point behind the Rojiblancos with nine games remaining.

Sevilla earned a penalty in the seventh minute when Saul stood on Ivan Rakitic's foot as he dribbled, but Oblak produced a fine stop to deny Ocampos, who also missed a penalty against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final.

Julen Lopetegui's side, fourth, had the better of an intense match but could not make the breakthrough until the 70th minute.

Sevilla took the lead when Acuna headed home Jesus Navas's cross but Atletico complained about an Ocampos handball in the buildup.

Replays showed that the Argentine did block Trippier's cross with his arm but VAR did not rule the goal out. 

"It's a tough defeat to take, the team tried everything," said Atletico midfielder Koke. "The first half was really tough for us.

"We struggled to get the ball back and keep it. We're hurt, it's a tough day for everything that happened on the pitch. It was a clear handball (for Sevilla's goal).

"We have to fight against everything, (but) we still depend on ourselves (in the title race)."

Earlier Cadiz earned a late 2-1 win over Valencia but the game was marred by an alleged racist comment

With the score tied at 1-1 in the 30th minute, Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby clashed with Juan Cala.

The referee booked him and he walked off, accompanied by his team-mates, with the club's Twitter account reporting he had suffered a racist comment.