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Spanish Primera BBVA

Juegos Mediterraneos (ATT 16,000) 8th February 2014 - Kick off 21:00 Ref: F Teixeira Vitienes

Almeria Almeria vs Atletico Madrid A Madrid

Almeria 2

Verza (80, pen 86)

ft

A Madrid 0

D Aranzubia (S/O 84)

Atletico Madrid stunned by Almeria

Last Updated: 08/02/14 11:10pm

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Verza celebrates his opener for Almeria

Verza celebrates his opener for Almeria

The Primera Division title race took another twist on Saturday as Atletico Madrid suffered a shock defeat away to struggling Almeria.

Jose Antonio Verza curled in a stunning goal - surely meant as a cross - 10 minutes from time after Almeria's stubborn defensive display had driven Atletico to distraction on a night of pure frustration.

And things got worse five minutes later when goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia - perhaps at fault for the opener - blundered in a big way, fluffing a back-pass and then fouling Jonathan Zongo to concede a penalty, converted by Verza, and seeing red.

The decision seemed harsh, particularly the red card, but Almeria were not complaining.

Atletico ended the night in second place in the overall standings - if only on goal difference following a big win for Real Madrid - but victory for Barcelona at Sevilla on Sunday would send Gerardo Martino's men back to the top of the league.

It was a stunning end to a night when Atletico had been expected to bounce back from their 3-0 Copa del Rey semi-final loss to Real Madrid.

But they struggled for inspiration in a scrappy first half, settling for long shots which did not trouble Esteban Suarez in the Almeria goal as they failed to get any meaningful effort on target.

As Atletico's frustrations became apparent, Almeria grew in confidence and Alex Vidal fired a warning shot in the 76th minute when a quick counter-attack ended with him striking a shot which hit both posts before bouncing clear.

That brought the crowd to life and moments later, they were celebrating a stunning opening goal from Verza who took a short corner and then curled the ball into the top corner with Aranzubia - starting in place of Thibaut Courtois - wrong-footed.

If that was harsh on the goalkeeper, he could have no excuses about the second and may have been grateful to escape to the dressing room after receiving his marching orders.

A routine back pass became a full-blown crisis when he took a poor first touch and then, as Zongo looked to pick his pocket, he tussled with the forward and both went to ground.

With all three substitutes used, midfielder Gabi pulled on the goalkeeper's jersey, but he could do nothing as Vidal lashed his penalty high into the right-hand corner of the net, sealing a win which takes them up to 13th, five points clear of the drop zone.

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Matches

Table

Spanish Primera BBVA

Spanish Primera BBVA
Pos Team P Pts
1 Atletico Madrid 34 85
2 Barcelona 34 81
3 Real Madrid 33 79
4 Athletic Bilbao 34 62
5 Sevilla 34 59
6 Real Sociedad 34 54
7 Villarreal 33 52
8 Valencia 34 45
9 Levante 34 41
10 Espanyol 34 41
11 Rayo Vallecano 34 40
12 Celta Vigo 34 40
13 Malaga 33 38
14 Granada 34 37
15 Osasuna 34 35
16 Elche 34 35
17 Real Valladolid 33 32
18 Getafe 34 32
19 Almeria 34 30
20 Real Betis 34 22