Atletico Madrid missed the opportunity to usurp third-placed Sevilla in LaLiga as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Julen Lopetegui's side at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.

Diego Simeone's men were hoping for a positive result that would have taken themselves back into the top four ahead of their Champions League last-16 second leg with Liverpool, but Sevilla claimed a commendable draw as Atletico failed to capitalise on their chances after half-time.

Luuk de Jong put Sevilla in front, before an Alvaro Morata penalty and a deflected Joao Felix effort turned the tables, but the visitors did go in at the interval level thanks to Lucas Ocampos' spot-kick.

Atletico attacked with increased intensity in the second half and crafted some presentable chances, but Diego Costa and Yannick Carrasco were both unable to capitalise as a Sevilla held on.

Sevilla began with the greater intent and deservedly went ahead 19 minutes in, Stefan Savic unable to cut out Joan Jordan's pass in from the right and De Jong finishing clinically after a fine first touch.

Atletico levelled from the spot through Morata – Diego Carlos penalised for an apparent handball following a lengthy VAR check.

Joao Felix then then put the hosts in front in the 36th minute, his left-footed shot taking a massive deflection of Jules Kounde before looping over the helpless Tomas Vaclik.

However, Sevilla equalised just before the break.

Ocampos converted the game's second spot-kick after another protracted VAR review adjudged Kieran Trippier to have caught the Argentinian.

Valik produced a wonderful save to deny Carrasco just past the hour-mark, reacting to claw the ball away after it had taken a hefty deflection.

The Belgian forward went close again soon after, blasting over from the centre of the box with what proved to be Atletico's final clear-cut opportunity.

 

What does it mean? Atletico happy to avoid defeat

While a draw will frustrate Simeone, he is probably grateful to avoid defeat above all, as that could have been a major blow for their top-four chances and dented their confidence ahead of Wednesday.

Nevertheless, Sevilla might feel irritated they did not do more to put Atleti under pressure in the first half when they were the better side.

Joao Felix provides a bit of spark

It has not been a great debut season at Atletico for Joao Felix, but he certainly showed flashes of his undoubted ability on Saturday. The Portugal star created three opportunities, second only to team-mate Trippier, had three shots and got himself a goal – even if he needed help from Kounde to beat Vaclik.

Suso's so-so

Much of the creative burden should have been on Suso for Sevilla, but the January signing from Milan was very quiet as he failed to create a single chance.

What's next?

Atletico turn their attention to the Champions League now, as they go to Anfield 1-0 up against title-holders Liverpool, followed by a trip to Athletic Bilbao. Sevilla host Roma in the Europa League on Thursday, then welcome bitter rivals Real Betis to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan three days later.

Zinedine Zidane believes it was the right decision to rule out a Luuk de Jong goal in Real Madrid's 2-1 victory over Sevilla on Saturday.

Madrid moved top of LaLiga as two goals from Casemiro secured all three points at the Santiago Bernabeu, despite De Jong having briefly made it 1-1 in the second half.

The striker thought he had given Sevilla the lead half an hour in, but his header was disallowed following a VAR check, with referee Juan Martinez Munuera instead penalising Nemanja Gudelj for blocking Eder Militao in the build-up.

Sevilla head coach Julen Lopetegui was aghast at the decision and director of football Monchi claimed he would have taken the team off the pitch had they seen a goal disallowed for a second time when VAR was used to check a possible handball by Munir El Haddadi.

Zidane, though, sees little reason to feel the decisions changed the game.

"What I can say is that I saw the incident and it's a block, there's a foul, the referee saw it on VAR, and he gave the foul," the Madrid boss told reporters.

"For the second, there's a hand, he doesn't give it. I can't explain anything, and I never get into evaluating these things. It's for the referee to decide.

"Sometimes these things go against you and sometimes in your favour. It's a difficult job. It's for them to decide.

"For me, there's a block, it's a foul and it's really normal."

When asked about Monchi's comments, Zidane replied: "I don't think the referee was that decisive. He did what he had to do.

"There's a hand for their goal, but that wasn't given. What can I say? I'm not going to get into it.

"It's a complicated game for everyone. We played against a good team, but the result is logical for what happened on the pitch.

"What he said is his responsibility. It's not for me to say anything. In the end, it's the referee who decides.

"What he said seems a little strong to me, but I'm not going to prevent the Sevilla sporting director from speaking."

Zidane went on to praise the performance of Casemiro, who proved Madrid's unlikely hero by scoring twice in the same game for the first time in his career with the club.

"Good, because in the end he got two goals and that's not usual," he said of Casemiro's performance. "I'm happy for him. We can make the difference in attack with any player."

Sevilla director of football Monchi was incensed by VAR's intervention in the defeat to Real Madrid, claiming he would have walked his team off the pitch had Luuk de Jong seen a second goal disallowed.

Zinedine Zidane's Madrid side claimed a 2-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Casemiro scoring either side of a De Jong strike to send the hosts to the top of LaLiga.

Sevilla thought they had taken the lead in the first half through De Jong's header, only for the goal to be disallowed when a VAR check prompted referee Juan Martinez Munuera to penalise Nemanja Gudelj for blocking Eder Militao.

Monchi was left furious by the decision and suggested he would have taken matters into his own hands had VAR intervened again when a possible handball by Munir El Haddadi before De Jong's finish was checked.

"Everyone saw the action. There's no footballing, technical or tactical analysis after such a clear incident that defines the game," Monchi told Movistar.

"There's nothing more to analyse about it. It's absurd.

"If they had ruled out the second goal, I would have come down to the pitch and taken the team off.

"We leave here satisfied with the game despite the defeat because Sevilla are a very big team. We're angry, outraged, and... I stop there."

Head coach Julen Lopetegui insisted there was no clear reason why Sevilla's opening goal should have been ruled out.

"I feel sad. When you lose a game, you're sad," Lopetegui said.

"We played quite a good first half. We deactivated Madrid, we scored an absolutely legal goal.

"I don't know if 'shame' is the right word. If I said that [at the time], it's not appropriate, but there's no reason to disallow the goal. We've seen it and it was legal.

"It's a great goal, a play we worked on throughout the week and I still don't know why it was ruled out."

Luuk de Jong and Memphis Depay scored in stoppage time to move Netherlands top of Group C as Ronald Koeman's side came from behind to beat Northern Ireland 3-1 in Rotterdam.

The Oranje knew a win would lift them above both Germany and their opponents, yet they fell behind in the 75th minute when substitute Josh Magennis headed in Stuart Dallas' cross completely against the run of play.

However, Depay levelled 10 minutes from time and De Jong, brought on shortly after his team fell behind, prodded in on the line in the first minute of stoppage time after his initial effort had looped into the air.

Depay rolled in Netherlands' third - and his sixth of the campaign – to leave Northern Ireland with a huge task to claim a top-two finish with November fixtures against Germany and Ronald Koeman's side still to come.

 

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