November 2, 2019 / 7:33 PM / 17 days ago

Atletico spurn chance to go top after Costa misfires from spot

SEVILLE, Spain (Reuters) - Diego Costa squandered a penalty as Atletico Madrid missed the chance to go top of La Liga on Saturday by drawing 1-1 away to Sevilla and failing to cash in on Barcelona’s surprise defeat at Levante earlier in the day.

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Atletico Madrid v Athletic Bilbao - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - October 26, 2019 Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa reacts REUTERS/Susana Vera

Sevilla went ahead with a header from Franco Vazquez in the 28th minute and Atletico coach Diego Simeone shook up his side in search of a reaction, sending on Costa and Santiago Arias at the start of the second half.

Costa netted a header shortly after coming on but a VAR review ruled it out for offside against Angel Correa, although Alvaro Morata did manage to equalise with a header soon after, on the hour mark.

Atletico did benefit from the technology being used later in the game when they were given a penalty instead of a free kick as replays showed Koke had been tripped just inside the area.

But Costa failed to make the most of the golden opportunity as Sevilla goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik guessed correctly to beat away the ball and also kept out a shot on the rebound from Koke.

Atletico spurned two glorious chances to snatch all three points in stoppage time as Morata saw a shot blocked on the line by Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, prompting a goal-mouth scramble which led to Morata committing a foul.

Visiting midfielder Thomas Partey had one last stab at finding a winner from inside the area but his goal-bound shot was deflected wide.

“We just have to take that small extra step to win games. We are doing a very good job but on some days we feel we could have done better and need to improve,” Koke said after Atletico’s second draw in a row, having tied 1-1 at Alaves on Tuesday.

“We really deserved to win the game, especially in the second half. We had a goal ruled out, we earned a penalty, we created a lot of chances. The point feels like little but if we keep working the victories will come.”

Atletico have now drawn half of their 12 league games and are third in the standings on 21 points, with Barca top on 22 with a game in hand despite their 3-1 loss at Levante.

Sevilla are fourth, also on 21 points, while Real Madrid are second on 22 after drawing 0-0 at home to Real Betis and also have a game in hand.

Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Clare Fallon

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