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Atletico Madrid routs Las Palmas to end winless streak ahead of Champions League

Angel Correa Koke Resurreccion Atletico Madrid Angel Correa Koke Resurreccion - Getty Images

MADRID (AP) — Robert Lewandowski converted a penalty kick in stoppage time after missing his first attempt for Barcelona to win at Celta Vigo 2-1 on Saturday, relieving some pressure on the club ahead of a Champions League playoff.

Lewandowski's first attempt was saved by Celta goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, but the Poland striker received a chance to retake the penalty after video review determined Guaita moved off the goal-line before Lewandowski shot.

The veteran then rolled the ball into the corner in the seventh minute of stoppage time to give Barcelona the victory after the home draw against Granada in the previous round, when it was jeered by its fans.

“I don't know what happened in the first penalty, but the goalkeeper was off the line too fast and I had the chance to score as usual in the second penalty,” Lewandowski said. “It was very important for us to get these three points, and now we can start focusing on the Champions League.”

Barcelona visits Napoli on Wednesday in the first leg of the round of 16. The five-time European champion is back in the Champions League knockout rounds after two consecutive eliminations in the group stage.

“It was an agonizing win but it was well deserved,” Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández said.

Xavi has been under added pressure despite announcing recently he will step down as Barcelona coach after the season. The team has won 10 of 12 points since he made the announcement.

Barcelona is seven points behind Spanish league leader Real Madrid, which can regain a 10-point gap on Sunday when it visits Rayo Vallecano. Barcelona is two points behind second-placed Girona, which visits Athletic Bilbao on Monday.

Barcelona has a three-point gap on fourth-placed Atletico Madrid, which routed Las Palmas 5-0.

Lewandowski put Barcelona ahead by scoring his third goal in three matches. He nicely controlled a pass by Lamine Yamal before sending a cross shot into the far corner.

Celta equalized early in the second half after Iago Aspas' low shot that deflected off Barcelona defender Jules Koundé.

Rafa Benítez's Celta, which has lost five of its last six matches in all competitions, stayed in 17th place, three points from the relegation zone. Its 3-2 loss at Getafe in the previous round came after it conceded an 89th-minute goal.


Atletico ended its three-game winless slump just in time for the Champions League playoffs, by routing Las Palmas. Atletico goes to Inter Milan in the first leg of the round of 16.

Marcos Llorente and Ángel Correa scored twice each and Memphis Depay added another at the Metropolitano Stadium.

Atletico got the comfortable win despite coach Simeone's decision to rotate the squad ahead of the trip to Milan on Tuesday. Forward Antoine Griezmann was on the bench with midfielder Rodrigo De Paul. Striker Álvaro Morata was out because of an injury.

“We are happy with the effort by the team,” said Correa, who also had an assist. “Everything worked out well for us."

Las Palmas, which had won three of its last five league matches, stayed in eighth place, still not out of contention for a European place.

Also on Saturday, Ante Budimir scored two second-half goals as 11th-placed Osasuna defeated 18th-placed Cadiz 2-0 at home. Cadiz's winless streak was up to 23 matches in all competitions.

Sevilla and Valencia drew 0-0 in Valencia. Sevilla, which had won two in a row, moved to 14th place. Valencia was eighth.


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