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Spanish league: Barcelona, Atletico held to draws, cling to co-lead

Barcelona, Spain: Barcelona and Atletico Madrid both stumbled to draws on Sunday, tightening the Spanish league title race with Real Madrid now only one point behind the co-leaders.   Barcelona's potent attack led by Lionel Messi
India TV News Desk January 20, 2014 6:29 IST
India TV News Desk
Barcelona, Spain: Barcelona and Atletico Madrid both stumbled to draws on Sunday, tightening the Spanish league title race with Real Madrid now only one point behind the co-leaders.
   
Barcelona's potent attack led by Lionel Messi was held 1-1 at Levante, leaving the door open for Atletico to later claim sole possession of the league lead.
   
But Atletico conceded a second-half penalty at home against Sevilla to also finish 1-1 and squander its chance to rise to the sole lead in the standings for the first time since September 2010.
   
"We had a good opportunity, but this is a long race," said Atletico defender Filipe Luis. "It's very difficult to compete with Real Madrid and Barcelona."
   
Madrid trailed the co-leaders by five points two rounds ago, but while it has kept on winning-- most recently with a 5-0 rout of bottom-side Real Betis on Saturday-- Barcelona and Atletico drew with one another last round and have slipped again just past the season's midway mark.
   
Levante went ahead through Loukas Vyntra's 10th-minute header, and its staunch defense did enough to take a measure of vengeance for the 7-0 thrashing Barcelona dealt the team in the season opener.
   
Gerard Pique leveled for Barcelona in the 19th, but Levante defender Juanfran Garcia saved the visitors' two best chances in the second half.