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Thomas Partey benched as Atletico suffer blow in La Liga race

Published on: 25 April 2017

Ghana midfielder Thomas Teye Partey was an unused substitute for Atletico Madrid who saw their already dim chances of winning the Spanish La Liga worsen when they lost 0-1 at home to Villareal.

Partey watched on from the bench as Atletico suffered a blow in the race for a top-three finish in La Liga as Roberto Soriano's late goal gave Villarreal a 1-0 win at the Vicente Calderon.

Diego Simeone's side were looking to keep themselves clear ahead of Sevilla in the battle for Champions League qualification.

However, Los Colchoneros could not make the most of their possession and were made to pay when Italy forward Soriano converted a cross from fellow substitute Cedric Bakambu with eight minutes left.

Villarreal, in fifth place, close up to five points behind Sevilla, who can go level with Atletico should they beat Celta Vigo at home on Thursday.

Visiting goalkeeper Andres Fernandez saved from France forward Antoine Griezmann and midfielder Saul Niguez before also thwarting Nicolas Gaitan in a one-on-one during the second half.

Atletico's frustrating evening was compounded by the loss of Belgium playmaker Yannick Carrasco with what appeared to be a shoulder injury not long after he was sent on as a second-half substitute -- leaving Simeone with plenty to ponder as the Champions League semifinal against city rivals Real Madrid looms.

Sporting Gijon had to make do with a point after Espanyol came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw at El Molinon.

Victor Rodriguez had fired Sporting ahead six minutes before the break when he whipped a 25-yard free kick out on the left over the wall and into the bottom corner past Espanyol keeper Diego Lopez.

However, the visitors, aiming to cement their place in the top half of the table, were level after 55 minutes.

Leo Baptistao picked up possession on the right flank before driving into the Sporting half and playing a pass inside the centre-backs for Gerard Moreno to round goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar and score.

The draw edges Sporting closer to within three points of 17th-placed Leganes, who play Las Palmas on Wednesday.

Granada were pushed closer to relegation as Malaga won 2-0 at Los Carmenes following a second-half brace from Sandro Ramirez.

The home side had started the evening some seven points adrift of safety and on the back of successive defeats under caretaker boss Tony Adams, the former England captain put in charge until the end of the season by Chinese owner Jiang Lizhang.

Malaga missed early chances through Keko and Ignacio Camacho before Ramirez broke the deadlock on 47 minutes with a low shot from 25 yards.

Ramirez smashed an effort against the right-hand post before scoring his and Malaga's second in stoppage time.

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