Atlético fails to regain Spanish league lead

MADRID — Atlético Madrid was held by Celta Vigo to a 0-0 draw at home on Saturday, missing its chance to regain the Spanish league lead.

A victory would have seen Atlético replace Sevilla at the top, but the hosts failed to capitalize on its chances at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Atlético has the same 10 points as Sevilla but trails on goal difference. Sevilla has a game in hand.

It was the third winless match in a row for Atlético, which was coming off a 2-2 home draw against Juventus in the Champions League. Last weekend, Diego Simeone's team lost 2-0 at Real Sociedad for its first setback of the season.

"We tried every way possible," Atlético defender José María Giménez said. "We went for the win until the last minute. It wasn't easy but we kept fighting. At least we didn't concede this time, but we let two important points slip away."

Atlético had conceded six goals in its last three matches.

Atlético striker Diego Costa and Celta defender Lucas Olaza were shown yellow cards after the final whistle as players from both teams got into an altercation.

Celta, which was coming off a home loss against Granada, stayed 14th in the 20-team standings with five points from five matches. It hadn't won a point at Atlético since 2014.

Atlético visits Mallorca on Wednesday, while Celta hosts Espanyol on Thursday.

Earlier Saturday, Villarreal defeated Valladolid at home with two late goals, while Levante was held by visiting Eibar to a 0-0 draw. Villarreal moved to third place with its second straight victory.

Barcelona visits Granada later Saturday in what is set to be Lionel Messi's first league appearance after a long injury absence. Barcelona has only seven points from its first four matches.

On Sunday, fourth-place Real Madrid visits Sevilla, where it has lost four straight league games.

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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