Atletico improve lead; Barca win once more

Madrid, January 25

Atletico Madrid have not flinched in their quest to win the Spanish league title for the first time since 2014.

Coming from behind for a second straight time, Atletico defeated Valencia 3-1 on Sunday to strengthen their hold on the league lead entering the second half of the season.

Barcelona earlier picked up their second win in a row without the suspended Lionel Messi, defeating Elche 2-0 to regain third place.

Joao Felix, Luis Suarez and Angel Correa scored to give Atletico their seventh straight league win and a seven-point gap to second-placed Real Madrid with a game in hand. Diego Simeone’s team is 10 points ahead of Barcelona. Suarez is now one of the league’s leading scorers with 12 goals.

Barcelona on a roll

Frenkie de Jong scored in the 39th and set up Riqui Puig’s 89th-minute goal to give Barcelona their fourth league win in a row as Messi served the second of his two-game suspension for hitting an opponent.

It was the first time Barcelona won four consecutive league matches this season, with all four victories coming in away matches. They have not lost in nine straight league games. — AP

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