Villarreal frustrate Atletico’s hopes of claiming La Liga top spot

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Villarreal v Atletico Madrid - Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal, Spain - October 20, 2018 Atletico Madrid's Filipe Luis in action with Villarreal's Mario Gaspar REUTERS/Heino Kalis

VILA-REAL, Spain (Reuters) – Struggling Villarreal derailed Atletico Madrid’s hopes of taking top spot in La Liga with a 1-1 draw at home on Saturday and were unfortunate not to win the game after squandering a number of chances in the second half.

Filipe Luis broke the deadlock early in the second half by nodding a looping ball into the net after it had clanged against the crossbar off the head of Villarreal defender Ramiro Funes Mori.

Mario Gaspar grabbed a scrappy equaliser for the home side in the 64th minute, finishing with the outside of his foot after the ball had bounced into his path off team mate Alfonso Pedraza.

Villarreal, without a home win in the league all season and with coach Javi Calleja under pressure, went all out for a winner and came close to getting one on three occasions but were denied by some impressive saves from Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Atletico are provisionally third in the standings with 16 points, while Villarreal have nine points and are 14th.

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