Real Madrid jump to 3rd spot, Villarreal beat Atletico in La Liga

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Madrid, March 19 (IANS) Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals as Real Madrid won an entertaining game 6-3 against Girona to snatch the third spot from Valencia, while second-placed Atletico Madrid lost 1-2 to Villarreal, who jumped to the fifth spot in the La Liga football championship.

Atletico’s title bid looks to be over after two late goals from Enes Unal condemned them to a 1-2 defeat away to Villarreal on Sunday, as the capital side now trail by 11 points to FC Barcelona, who enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 win at home over Athletic Club Bilbao.

Antoine Griezmann’s 20th minute penalty looked as if it was going to be enough to give Atletico their 10th 1-0 win of the season, but their usually rock solid defence went to sleep twice in the last 10 minutes, reports Xinhua news agency.

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Enes Unal’s first goal came in the 82nd minute as the Turk headed home following a corner and he then netted the winner in injury time.

Atletico midfielder Saul Niguez told his club’s website: “The match was under our control. In the second half they controlled possession but didn’t create many chances. Villarreal were more concentrated and scored from two set piece plays.”

“We’re going to improve what we did wrong.”

Atletico are now four points ahead of Real Madrid, who thrashed Girona 6-3. The Catalan side went in level at the break after Ronaldo’s first goal and an equaliser from Cristhian Stauni, ahead of a second half which produced seven goals.

Two more from Ronaldo and a further strike from Lucas Vazquez put Madrid 4-1 up before Stuani’s second made it 4-2.

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Gareth Bale made it 5-2 before Juampe netted Girona’s third ahead of Ronaldo’s fourth for Madrid in injury time.

However, Real coach Ziedine Zidane was not happy with the way his side conceded the goals. “We’re in good shape, but we’ve got to look at the finer details. We’re happy with the win and to have scored six, but we’re not pleased about conceding three goals and all from set pieces,” Zidane was quoted as saying by his club’s website.

“We were aware just how much of a threat they were from deadball situations. The goals owed to a lack of concentration on our part. Just after we’d scored, they came pouring forward straight away”.

At the Camp Nou Stadium, hosts Barcelona were quickly ahead against a side struggling for confidence and form and quickly took the lead when Paco Alcacer, in the side for the suspended Luis Suarez, side footed home from 10 yards out.

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It was all Barcelona after that, and Lionel Messi doubled their lead on the half hour and but for visiting keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and the woodwork the game would have been over by half-time.

Barcelona took their foot off the gas while Athletic improved and a dull second half saw few chances at either end.

–IANS

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