La Liga round-up: Atletico Madrid close gap on Barcelona
There were also wins for Valencia and Real Madrid on Saturday
Last Updated: 19/01/19 10:20pm
Atletico Madrid eased the pain of their midweek Copa del Rey exit to Girona by strolling to a 3-0 win at basement club Huesca on Saturday, moving to within two points of La Liga leaders Barcelona.
France defender Lucas Hernandez scored in his first league appearance for over a month, and the first since reports of a possible move to Bayern Munich appeared, to put Atletico ahead in thick fog at Huesca's El Alcoraz stadium in the 31st minute.
Bottom-of-the-table Huesca had come close to opening the scoring when Jorge Pulido struck the post with a bicycle kick. However, Atletico tightened their grip on the game early in the second half as Colombian right back Santiago Arias volleyed in a chipped pass from Antoine Griezmann.
Griezmann came close to netting for the seventh game in a row when he headed against the crossbar, but his team-mate Koke pounced on the rebound to match the 3-0 scoreline Atletico won by when the two teams met earlier in the season.
Atletico are second in the standings on 41 points, two behind leaders Barcelona who host Leganes on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Celta Vigo squandered a first-half lead to lose 2-1 at home to Valencia.
The result extended Celta's winless streak to five matches and left the team in 17th place, just outside the relegation zone. It will drop into the bottom three if Rayo Vallecano beats Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Still without the injured Iago Aspas, Celta opened the scoring with a header by Nestor Araujo late in the first half, but Ferran Torres equalised with a shot from inside the area midway through the second and Rodrigo netted Valencia's winner from close range in the 84th.
Valencia hadn't won in three straight league matches. It is now up to seventh in the standings.
Finally, Real Madrid breathed new life into their stuttering season as they secured a vital 2-0 La Liga victory at home to Sevilla on Saturday.
Having wasted multiple goalscoring chances they were on course to drop further points, and leave their manager Santiago Solari under increasing pressure, until Casemiro brilliantly curled in from long range in the 78th minute and Luka Modric added a late second.
While they are still to truly join the title race led by Barcelona, the three points earned maintain the pressure on cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid, who are second, and also take them three points clear of Sevilla, who fall to fourth.