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Malaga beat Granada, Villarreal edge past Atletico Madrid in La Liga

IANS logoIANS 26-04-2017

Malaga, on Tuesday, dominated from the opening whistle and would have put the match to bed in the first half but for an inability to finish their chances, reports Efe.

Home goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa had to make five stops in the first 45 minutes.

The second half began the same way, with the difference that Malaga scored on their first chance when a Sandro Ramirez found the back of the net in the 47th minute.

Granada's first shot of the night came in the 65th minute and visiting keeper Carlos Kameni comfortably diverted a strike by Rene Krhin.

Sandro scored a second for Malaga in extra time.

Malaga, with 39 points from 34 matches, climb to 14th place. For Granada, with just 20 points, a loss on Saturday against Real Sociedad might result in the relegation.

In the other matches, Atletico Madrid were beaten 0-1 by Villarreal at Madrid, thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Andres Fernandez and an opportunistic strike in the 81st minute by Roberto Soriano.

Last season's Atletico-Villarreal contest at the Vicente Calderon ended 0-0, so a defensive struggle was to be expected.

On this occasion, however, the Colchoneros generated more than enough chances to win.

Fernandez made fine stops in the first half against Angel Correa and Antoine Griezmann, and those were only the best of Atleti's opportunities.

At the other end of the pitch, host keeper Jan Oblak barely touched the ball during the first 45 minutes.

Nico Gaitan tested Fernandez early in the second half before being replaced by Yannick Carrasco in the 55th minute, just as Correa gave way to Kevin Gameiro.

But Carrasco left with an injury in the 71st minute and Atletico started to run out of steam, leaving themselves open to the kind of threats that led to Soriano's goal with nine minutes left.

Fifth-place Villarreal climb to 60 points from 34 matches and are within striking distance of Sevilla, the current holders of fourth place and the accompanying Champions League berth.

Atletico, with 68 points, are just three points ahead of Sevilla, who have played one fewer match.

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