Atletico brush aside Moyes’s Sociedad

Atletico brush aside Moyes’s Sociedad
Antoine Griezmann then doubled the hosts’ advantage against his former club shortly afterwards to end the game as a contest inside the first 10 minutes. Sevilla moved level with Valencia in fourth, just four points adrift of Atletico, with a 2-1 win at Levante thanks to first-half goals from Kevin Gameiro and Jose Antonio Reyes.

Barcelona can regain their nine-point lead over Atletico when they and closest challengers Real Madrid are in action against Almeria and Rayo Vallecano respectively on Wednesday.

The defeat all but ends Sociedad’s outside hopes of qualifying for the Europa League, but the former Manchester United boss insisted he never thought that was a realistic target having taken over the Basque outfit with the remit of avoiding relegation. “I’ve aways felt like it would be too difficult to make Europe. The distance to make up was too far. We’ve been on a very good run. We’ve had two difficult away games and I think the players have done a lot of good things,” Moyes added.

Sociedad beat Atletico 2-1 when the sides met back in November and came into the game having lost just one of their last eight La Liga games, but were on the back foot straight away as Arda Turan volleyed against the post inside 60 seconds. The visitors managed to scramble the rebound behind but from the resulting corner, Gonzalez could only flick Koke’s in-swinging delivery into the far corner.

Eight minutes later it was 2-0 as Geronimo Rulli could only parry Koke’s fierce drive into the path of Griezmann, who slammed the ball high into the net but refused to celebrate out of respect to the club he spent nine years with prior to his big money move to Atletico last summer.

Griezmann came close to inflicting more pain on his former employers as he was denied by a last-ditch tackle from Gonzalez before nodding just wide from another dangerous corner. Sociedad gradually grew into the game, but only seriously threatened Jan Oblak’s goal when Chory Castro’s powerful shot forced the Slovenian into a smart save. Atletico took the sting out of the game in the second-half with next week’s Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid in mind. However, they were still characteristically solid at the back to secure a fifth consecutive clean sheet. At the other end of the table minnows Eibar ended an 11-game winless run to ease their relegation fears with a 1-0 victory over Malaga.

Juventus storm into Italian Cup final

Juventus overcame a first-leg deficit to reach the Italian Cup final with a 3-0 win at Fiorentina on Tuesday, advancing on 4-2 aggregate. The Italian Serie A leaders seek their first Cup trophy in 20 years, keeping alive hope of a treble. Alessandro Matri, in place of the injured Carlos Tevez, put Juventus ahead from close range midway through the first half and Roberto Pereyra doubled the lead just before halftime by knocking in a rebound. Leonardo Bonucci capped the victory with a volley inside the near post following a corner in the 59th. Napoli hosts Lazio in the other semifinal on Wednesday following a 1-1 opening leg. The final will be played in Rome on June 7.

Benteke treble keeps Villa out of trouble
Christian Benteke scored a potentially priceless hat-trick as Aston Villa avoided slipping into the Premier League relegation zone by drawing 3-3 at home to Queens Park Rangers. After Matt Phillips put QPR ahead, a Benteke brace gave Villa control, only for second-half goals from Clint Hill and Charlie Austin to leave QPR on the brink of a win that would have taken them out of the bottom three at their opponents’ expense. But Benteke completed his treble with an inch-perfect 83rd-minute free-kick to take the Belgian striker’s tally to seven goals in five games and leave Tim Sherwood’s side three points above the bottom three.



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