The title race in La Liga has finally begun to take shape as Atletico Madrid tightened their grip on the top spot in the league table with a crucial win on Wednesday. The narrow race with two matchdays remaining leaves little room for dropped points along the way as Atletico, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Sevilla FC are separated by six points with two matches remaining in the season.
Here's how Wednesday's fixtures played out.
Atletico Madrid vs. Real Sociedad
Atletico Madrid headed into their match against Real Sociedad with a one-point margin separating them from second-place Barcelona in the standings. The hosts made quick work of the opposition and got on the scoreboard in the 16th minute with a goal from Yannick Carrasco.
Angel Correa extended the lead to 2-0 with a goal in the 28th minute as Real Sociedad struggled to generate anything from their time on the ball.
Atletico remained active, though couldn't extend the lead, as Igor Zubeldia cut into the host's advantage in the 83rd minute with a goal for Real Sociedad. The late-game surge from the visitors wasn't enough, as Atleti remained organized and closed out the 2-1 victory. The win gives Atletico Madrid 80 points in the league table with two matches remaining. Atletico -- who control their own destiny -- are four points clear of Barcelona and five points up on Real Madrid, who have a game in hand.
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Sevilla vs. Valencia
Fourth-place Sevilla added to their point total in the top four after a 1-0 win over Valencia. They now hold 74 points, and are just one point behind Real Madrid.
Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui rolled out his squad in a 4-3-3 and reintroduced Youssef En-Nesyri into the starting lineup after keeping the Moroccan striker as a substitute last match. The home side dominated possession during the first half against Valencia, but struggled in the final third, failing to find the final pass or convert their attempts in front of goal. Valencia, appeared content to concede a bit of possession to the hosts in an effort to hit on a counter, though the attempts didn't come often.
Valencia got off to a quick start in their second half, trying to spend more time on the ball and eat a bit more of Sevilla's possession, but a triple substitution just at the hour mark from Lopetegui changed the tempo of the match back in the host's favor.
Brazilian midfielder Fernando made an immediate impact off the bench just six minutes later when he threaded a ball through to En-Nesyri for the lone goal of the match.
The win for Sevilla was a must, though could mean little in the short term, as they now have 74 points with two matches remaining.