Real Madrid was once again tripped up in the home of bull running at the weekend, Pamplona, where Osasuna took a two-goal lead before the visiting side clawed back a point at a stadium where it has now won just once in its last six Liga matches. Oriol Riera bagged a first-half brace for the host and Isco and Pepe scored to salvage a point, after Real had been reduced to 10 men when Sergio Ramos was sent off for the 18th time in a white shirt.
The result meant that both Barcelona and Atlético had the chance to go five points clear at the top of the division in their matches against Villarreal and Valencia, respectively. Gerardo Martinos side duly saw off the fifth-placed side 2-1 courtesy of a Neymar brace while Atlético turned on the style in the second half at the Vicente Calderón to eventually knock three past the visitor.
Despite the repeated game-by-game mantra at the southern Madrid club, coach Diego Simeone urged Atlético on to grab a fourth goal that would have been enough to overhaul Barça and top the table on Monday morning. As it was, the defeat cost Miroslav Djukic his job as Valencia coach after less than half a season.
Had Diego Costa not missed a penalty, that would have been the case but the Atlético forward did provide two of Atléticos goals, one from the spot, to ensure a turkey shoot next weekend: Barcelona travels to Getafe and Atlético hosts Levante with top-dog status at stake before La Liga shuts down for the annual Christmas break.
Posted originally: 2013-12-16 20:29:50