Diego Godin's mask couldn't protect Atlético from defeat at Celta / clubatleticodemadrid.com

[[DES_1]]After their impressive 4-0 demolition of leaders Real Madrid flung Atlético right back into the title chase last week, all that good work was undone by an uninspiring performance at Celta Vigo on Sunday night. The Galicians won 2-0 thanks to second half goals from former Barça man Nolito and Orellana. Coach Diego Simeone shouldered the blame, saying after the match that he had got his team selection all wrong. The result means the defending champions are back to seven points behind the leaders and six behind Barça.

Real Madrid bounced back from humiliation in the derby by beating Deportivo 2-0 to hold onto top spot. They made heavy work of the job, but Isco and Benzema got the goals that secured the three poiints.

Future rivals beaten

And there was disappointment for Barça’s cup rivals Villarreal, who lost 2-0 at Rayo Vallecano. Both of the goals came in the second half, scored by Bueno and Kakuta. Following the cup semi-final with Barça on Wednesday and with a crunch Europa League match with Salzburg around the corner, manager Marcelino García Toral opted to rotate his squad and accepted afterwards that his gamble had not paid off.

Next week, Barça entertain seventh placed Málaga, whose European bid took a serious knock on Saturday when they were beaten 2-0 at home to the side that is one place below them in the table, Espanyol. Álvaro put the Catalans ahead just before half-time and the Andalusians missed a second-half penalty before Sergio García settled things for the visitors deep into injury time.

[[BOTOGRIS::See the League table as it currently stands ++::http://www.fcbarcelona.com/football/first-team/spanish-league::HOR::::NO-TRACKING::::::]]

No game for Manchester City

It was FA Cup weekend in England, but Barça’s Champions League opponents Manchester City are no longer involved in the competition after their shock fourth round exit at home to Middlesbrough, and therefore had a weekend off.

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