Atletico Madrid’s difficult season hit rock bottom on Wednesday night as they were deservedly beaten at home by La Liga basement side Levante just one week ahead of Manchester United’s visit
Atletico Madrid fell to a shock home defeat against La Liga basement dwellers Levante as their season descends into chaos ahead of hosting Manchester United in the Champions League.
The defending Spanish champions are having a nightmare season and are currently outside the top four in La Liga and are set to finish the season without any silverware.
Wednesday night was a new low point in Diego Simeone’s side’s season – as Gonzalo Melero struck the only goal of the game to earn Levante just their second league win of the campaign.
Levante started the night eight points adrift at the foot of the table in La Liga and a whopping 15 from safety but were the better side against Atleti and were fully deserving of the three points.
All four shots on target during the 90 minutes came from the visiting side, with Atletico showing little creativity nor structure in defence.
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Atleti thought they had an equaliser in the sixth minute of stoppage time as Angel Correa had the ball in the net from a spectacular overhead kick but the goal was ruled out for a foul on a Levante defender in the build-up.
Goalkeeper Jan Oblak almost netted a remarkable equaliser a minute later as he went up from a late free-kick, but his header went inches over the crossbar.
Simeone’s side have won just eight of their last 23 matches across all competitions – and several of those victories have come with hugely underwhelming performances and late goals.
Despite conceding just once against Levante – who could and should have scored more goals – Atleti have conceded two goals or more in six of their last seven matches and nine of their last 12 in all competitions.
This result means that Atleti have won just 11 of their 24 La Liga matches this campaign and leaves them a whopping 15 points off league leaders Real Madrid.
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Even more worryingly, it means that they remain outside of the league’s top four and are on course to miss out on qualification for the Champions League next season.
Atleti remain one point behind Barcelona, who now have one game in hand, while they are four points behind third-placed Real Betis and 11 off Sevilla.
Simeone’s side started off the season as one of the favourites to defend their La Liga title, having held together their league-winning squad and made several exciting additions.
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Antoine Griezmann returned to the club from Barcelona while Argentine international midfielder Rodrigo de Paul was signed from Udinese and Brazilian striker Matheus Cunha was added.
However, things have badly regressed at Los Rojiblancos this campaign and their season now risks falling apart.
Simeone’s side will host Manchester United in the first leg of their Round of 16 clash on 23 February before travelling to Old Trafford on 15 March.