GIRONA (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid’s La Liga title ambitions suffered a setback on Sunday when they drew 1-1 away at Girona, averting a first league defeat since September only thanks to a late own goal by Jonas Ramalho.
Atletico’s Saul Niguez struck the underside of the bar as the visitors enjoyed the better first-half chances but they fell behind on the stroke of halftime when top scorer Cristhian Stuani converted a penalty.
The spot kick was awarded with the help of the video assistant referee after Stuani himself had been tripped by goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
Girona’s substitute keeper Gorka Iraizoz made a stunning save to thwart Saul in the second half but Diego Simeone’s side levelled in the 83rd minute.
Diego Costa burst forward to control a long ball and Ramalho’s attempt to clear saw him instead divert it into his own net.
The draw, Atletico’s seventh stalemate of the season, left Diego Simeone’s side third in the standings on 25 points, three behind leaders Barcelona, who beat Villarreal 2-0, and two behind second-placed Sevilla who drew 1-1 at Alaves.
“This league is very exciting, anyone can beat anyone and that’s what makes football so great, getting to the weekend and not knowing which team is going to take the three points,” said Atletico defender Lucas Hernandez.
“We have to keep working and improving so that we can get the three points each week. Today I think we played very well, Girona barely created a chance and we deserved to win. It wasn’t to be, but at least we managed to get the draw.”
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ian Chadband and Clare Fallon