Celta Vigo go joint top, Atletico down Sociedad
Celta Vigo moved level with Real Madrid and Barcelona at the top of La Liga thanks to Nolito’s last-minute winner in a 2-1 victory at 10-man Villarreal on Sunday.
Atletico Madrid are now within two points of the leaders as Antoine Griezmann and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco handed them a controversial 2-0 win at nine-man Real Sociedad.
Villarreal had started the weekend as leaders, but a second consecutive defeat sees them slip down to fifth.
Real Madrid remain top on goal difference and travel to Celta next Saturday in a top-of-the-table clash.
Villarreal enjoyed the better of the early stages, but were hit by a sucker punch four minutes before half-time when Fabian Orellana curled home a superb opener from outside the box.
The visitors could have been even further ahead at the break as Pablo Hernandez’s chipped effort drifted just over and Nolito hit the post.
Villarreal were then reduced to 10 men early in the second half when Ivory Coast international defender Eric Bailly was shown a second yellow card.
Yet, despite Celta’s domination of possession, the hosts levelled through Denis Suarez’s deflected effort 23 minutes from time.
Marcelino’s men couldn’t hold out for a point, though, as Spanish international Nolito swept home his sixth goal of the season on the rebound after Orellana’s initial effort came back off the bar.
Later, Atletico piled the pressure on former Manchester United manager David Moyes as Real Sociedad remain above the relegation zone only on goal difference with just one win in their opening eight games of the season.
“I said to the players at the end that their effort deserved more,” said Moyes.
“They deserve a bit of luck that they didn’t get.”
Griezmann brilliantly accelerated beyond the Basque side’s defence on nine minutes before dinking the ball over Geronimo Rulli to open the scoring against his old club.
A tepid 80 minutes followed with the hosts unable to break down the visitors as Atletico sat back, but tempers flared in the final stages as Diego Reyes was first to be sent off for taking his protests towards referee Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva too far.
Villanueva then turned down strong penalty appeals for the hosts in stoppage time as Jose Maria Gimenez appeared to bring down Jonathas.
To rub salt into the home wounds, Atletico broke upfield and Fernando Torres played in Carrasco to score his first goal for the club.
“Gimenez threw himself to the ground in a heroic act and touched the ball,” said Atletico boss Diego Simeone.
“The referee saw he touched the ball and not the player.”
Jonathas then saw two yellow cards in a matter of seconds as he lost his cool with the officials to leave Moyes with two unnecessary suspensions to cope with for next weekend’s crucial clash at Levante.