Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata secured a 2-0 home win over Elche as the 10-man hosts moved up to third place in La Liga on Thursday after a clash in which three players were sent off as the visitors finished with nine men.
Atletico have 27 points from 15 matches, 10 off leaders Barcelona and eight behind Real Madrid having played a game more than their two rivals. Bottom side Elche have four points and are eight adrift of the safety zone.
Atletico struggled to control the game and create any clear chances in the opening period before Elche defender Gonzalu Verdu was shown a red card one minute into first-half stoppage time after dragging Morata down just outside the box.
Atletico defender Mario Hermoso then received his marching orders in the 53rd minute at the Metropolitano Stadium after picking up two bookings in three minutes for fouls.
Three minutes later Felix headed in the opening goal after Antoine Griezmann found him inside the box.
Morata doubled the lead in the 74th with a shot that was deflected over goalkeeper Edgar Badia.
Elche were reduced to nine men in the 90th when Domingos Quina received his second booking for a challenge on Morata.
Lens falter in title race after draw at Nice, Marseille hit six
Second-placed Lens were held to a 0-0 draw at mid-table Nice on Thursday as they failed to keep pace with Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain who won on their return after the World Cup break.
Lens controlled the game from the start but could not find the breakthrough in a mostly uneventful half and the pattern resumed after the break as Nice looked to counter-attack.
The hosts had a chance to snatch the points but substitute Remy Lascary’s shot from outside the box three minutes into stoppage time flew wide.
PSG captain Marquinhos scored at both ends against Racing Strasbourg on Wednesday before a last-gasp Kylian Mbappe penalty secured a 2-1 victory as they stretched their lead at the top.
Lens now have 37 points, seven behind PSG after 16 games.
Marseille fired six goals past visitors Toulouse, with six different scorers including an own goal, as they won 6-1.
The win took Marseille up to third with 33 points, two points above fourth-placed Stade Rennais who lost 3-1 at Stade Reims, while Toulouse are 13th on 16 points.
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