May 6, 2018 / 4:49 PM / 6 months ago

Atletico surrender unbeaten home league record with Espanyol loss

MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid suffered a hangover from reaching the Europa League final in midweek as they slumped to a surprise 2-0 defeat at home to Espanyol on Sunday, losing for the first time in La Liga at their Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

Midfielder Oscar Melendo put Espanyol ahead after 53 minutes with the help of a huge deflection off Atletico defender Stefan Savic and Brazilian forward Leo Baptistao doubled the lead with a thumping low drive from outside the area against his old side.

Espanyol are 15th in the standings and had only won one of their previous seven games, making them unlikely candidates to become the first team to beat Atletico in the league since their 68,000-capacity stadium opened in September.

Atletico are second on 75 points, 11 behind champions Barcelona who have two games in hand and play Real Madrid later on Sunday. Diego Simeone’s side are four ahead of third-placed Real, who have also played two games fewer than Atletico.

Diego Simeone made five changes to the Atletico team that beat Arsenal 1-0 in Thursday’s Europa League semi-final, second leg for a 2-1 aggregate win, leaving out influential defender Diego Godin and striking pair Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann.

Atletico had previously lost 2-1 at home to Chelsea in the Champions League in September and 2-1 to Sevilla in the King’s Cup in January.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris

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