Man City's Edin Dzeko in action in the 1-1 draw at home to Hull City / www.mcfc.com

Third placed Atlético Madrid have beaten league leaders Real Madrid 4-0 in a derby that is likely to have a huge bearing on the final outcome of La Liga. Defeat for Atlético would have left the defending champions ten points behind their city rivals and well out of the chase for the title, but instead they now find themselves tied with Barça on 50 points. Real Madrid still lead with 54.

The result has provided a welcome boost to Barça’s own title aspirations. The Catalans, of course, have a game in hand, away to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday at 9.00pm (CET) where a win would now move them to within one point of the lead.

Atlético call Saúl

It was a glorious afternoon for the home fans at the Vicente Calderón, so used to being relegated to the status of the Spanish capital’s ‘other’ team. Not today they weren’t. Portuguese midfielder Tiago put them ahead after 14 minutes, and just four minutes later, Saúl, who had come on as a replacement for the injured Koke, made it two with an absolute peach of a bicycle kick.

Real were without the injured Sergio Ramos and Pepe, plus the suspended left-back Marcelo, and were sorely missing all three at the back as Atlético came at them time and time again. Antoine Griezmann had already had number of chances to extend Atlético’s lead before he finally found the target after 66 minutes to make it 3-0. And with a minute left on the clock, Mario Mandzukic converted a Fernando Torres assist to top off a day that the red-and-white half of Madrid will be remembering for a very long time. Not since 1987 have Atlético put four goals past their biggest rivals and the last time they beat Real home and away in the league was way back in 1964.


Villarreal prepare for Barça with win

Villarreal bounced back from defeat at the Camp Nou last week with a 2-0 win at home to Granada. They advanced after 29 minutes thanks to a Mainz own goal but struggled to get the job finished, with Granada pushing hard for an equaliser in the second half. Not until the second minute of injury time, when Gerard Moreno made it 2-0, were the three points secured. Villarreal, of course, will be facing FC Barcelona once again in the Spanish Cup semi-finals. With that in mind, the likes of Giovani dos Santos, Vietto, Cheryshev and Mario Gaspar were all among the regulars that were rested for this league fixture.

Milner rescues Man City

Meanwhile in England, FC Barcelona’s Champions League opponents Manchester City were on the verge of shock home defeat to Hull City, but a last minute free-kick from James Milner salvaged a 1-1 draw at the Etihad. David Meyler put Hull, who had lost their three previous games, in command after 35 minutes. It proved to be frustrating afternoon for City, who attacked constantly to no avail, hitting the crossbar twice, before Milner’s late equaliser. The result means they have now gone four league games without a win, while also getting knocked out of the FA Cup, and they’re now seven points adrift of Premiership leaders Chelsea, who won 2-1 at Aston Villa.

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