Atletico Madrid suffer shock defeat to Levante ahead of crunch Champions League clash with Chelsea on TuesdayFebruary 24, 2021
ATLETICO MADRID will face Chelsea on a sticky run of form following a 2-0 defeat to Levante on Saturday.
Without Kieran Trippier and Stefan Savic, Diego Simeone's side shot themselves in the foot after half an hour at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Geoffrey Kondogbia lost the ball on the 18-yard line to allow Jose Luis Morales a shot on goal.
The veteran beat Jan Oblak with a powerful effort that arrowed in off the post, marking his 12th goal of the season.
Luis Suarez, going into the game with seven goals in his last five, hit the post from a free-kick as Atleti chased a leveller.
Simeone threw on Lyon loanee Moussa Dembele for his debut as well as Thomas Lemar, both having recovered from coronavirus.
But Levante held firm and nabbed a second goal late on through Jorge de Frutos.
With goalkeeper Oblak up for a 94th-minute corner, De Frutos intercepted a pass by his box and raced forward to the halfway line, before hitting the empty net with a long-range effort.
The defeat left Atletico's lead atop LaLiga at just six points, having used up their games in hand and won just one of their last four.
Los Colchoneros faced Levante twice in a week due to postponed fixtures earlier in the year, drawing 1-1 with the Valencians last Wednesday.
Next up are Chelsea on Tuesday night in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.
The Blues head into the Madrid match-up on good form and remain unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel after a 1-1 draw with Southampton.
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Coach Simeone stated his optimism that Atletico would get out of their rut and re-energise their title tilt.
He told reporters: "These seasons are always the same, there are moments with difficulties.
"It is the same for everyone. Those who are strong in bad moments are the ones who reach the goal."
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