Atletico Madrid passed up the chance to move top of the Primera Liga as Lucas Perez’s equaliser 14 minutes from time handed Deportivo la Coruna a 1-1 draw at La Riazor.
The visitors looked set to usurp Real Madrid and Barcelona when Tiago’s finely struck opener handed them a half-time lead.
However, Atletico were made to pay for an error by Jose Maria Gimenez as Perez robbed the Uruguayan before slotting home his sixth goal of the season.
Atletico move to within a point of the leaders, but Madrid and Barca can extend their lead when they face Las Palmas and Getafe respectively on Saturday.
“We had the chances to kill the game, but if you don’t take them then all the teams in the Primera Division are good and have quality up front,” Atletico midfielder Koke told Canal Plus.
“We were desperate to go to bed as leaders, but there is a long way to go in the season and we’ll do everything we can to be up there eventually.”
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Diego Simeone named an unchanged Atletico side for the first time in nearly two years following last weekend’s impressive display in a 2-1 win over Valencia.
The Argentine was rewarded with a dominant first-half display from his side as Deportivo barely progressed beyond the halfway line let alone threaten Jan Oblak’s goal.
Atletico had to wait until 11 minutes before half-time to open the scoring when Yannick Ferreira Carrasco’s cross fell perfectly on the edge of the area for Tiago to rifle a volley into the bottom corner.
Simeone’s men should then have killed the game before the break as an unmarked Diego Godin headed against the post before Antoine Griezmann’s follow-up effort flew into the hands of a grateful German Lux.
And Griezmann had another golden chance to net his seventh goal of the season with the final action of the half when he headed into the side-netting.
Deportivo provided far more attacking intent in the second period, but still found it difficult to find a way through until they were gifted a lifeline when Gimenez handed possession to Perez, who then calmly rounded Oblak before slotting home his sixth goal of the season.
And the hosts were inches away from snatching a shock victory when Faycal Fajr’s brilliant curling effort came back off the crossbar two minutes from time.
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