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 Posted by PA Sport
Apr 13, 2014

Atletico open up three-point lead

FC's Alejandro Moreno, Stevie Nicol and Gab Marcotti give their La Liga picks.

Atletico Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga to three points on Sunday, although their 2-0 derby win over nine-man Getafe was not a performance to savour.

David Villa celebrates with goalscorer Diego Godin after he gave Atletico the lead.
David Villa celebrates with goalscorer Diego Godin after he gave Atletico the lead.

Diego Simeone's men struggled to break down their Madrid rivals, who are battling for survival, with Diego Godin's goal the only highlight of a poor first half.

Not even the dismissals of Angel Lafita and Alexis could inspire the leaders, who saw Diego Costa miss a penalty before making amends with a goal late on. The striker suffered a worrying-looking injury for his efforts and left the field on a stretcher, although Atletico later played down the seriousness of the problem.

Despite the scrappy performance, the win has handed Atletico the advantage once more in the race to win the title as they hold a three-point lead over second-placed Real Madrid and are four points clear of Barcelona in third. Getafe, meanwhile, remain one point shy of safety.

Real Betis sunk deeper into the relegation zone with a 2-0 defeat at home to fierce rivals Sevilla, with the hosts unable to recover following Juan Carlos' first-half red card.

The winger was sent off with 28 minutes gone after being adjudged to have fouled Carlos Bacca in an incident which led to Kevin Gameiro opening the scoring from the penalty spot.

And Gameiro then killed the game off eight minutes from time with a close-range finish, leaving Betis 10 points from safety with just five games of the season remaining.

For Sevilla, it was a third straight victory, building on their impressive 4-1 midweek win over Porto which fired them into the Europa League semifinals, having beaten Betis in the previous round.

Valencia extended their unbeaten run to three matches with a 2-1 victory over Elche at the Mestalla.

Goals from Pablo Piatti and Dani Parejo won the game for the home team either side of Ferran Corominas' equaliser, while Damian Suarez missed a penalty deep into the second half for the visitors.

The result leaves Los Che in eighth as they built a four-point gap between themselves and ninth-placed Levante. Elche hold on to their spot in 15th -- just four points above the relegation zone with five matches remaining.

Diego Colotto grabbed a late equaliser for Espanyol as they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Rayo Vallecano.

Christian Stuani handed the home side an early lead but goals from Iago Falque and Joaquin Larrivey either side of half-time turned the game on its head before Colotto struck with two minutes to play.

The result moves Rayo a step closer to safety as they now sit six points clear of the drop zone while Espanyol are safely in mid-table.

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