Leaders Atletico slump to shock defeat at home to Levante

A first league defeat since December left Atletico with 55 points after 23 games and second-placed Real Madrid could reduce the gap to three points when it visits Real Valladolid later on Saturday.

Renan Lodi of Atletico de Madrid looks dejected following his team's defeat in the La Liga Santander match against Levante.   -  GETTY IMAGES

La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid's recent wobble in form continued as it fell to its first defeat in 12 league games, losing 2-0 to Levante at home on Saturday.

Jose Luis Morales gave the visitor the lead on the half-hour mark with a deflected strike from just inside the area to deceive keeper Jan Oblak, while Jorge de Frutos knocked into an empty net to score the second in added time after Oblak had committed himself forward to contest a corner.

A first league defeat since December left Atletico with 55 points after 23 games and second-placed Real Madrid could reduce the gap to three points when it visits Real Valladolid later on Saturday.

READ| Bundesliga: Bayern Munich suffers 2-1 defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt

After a poor first half, Atletico came out fighting in the second but could not beat Levante keeper Daniel Cardenas, who made a total of 10 saves including an outstanding late stop to deny substitute Thomas Lemar.

Luis Suarez hit the post with a vicious free kick while Angel Correa saw a goal ruled out for a foul by Suarez.

Joao Felix missed two gilt-edged chances while Suarez, Marcos Llorente and Renan Lodi also will feel they should have equalised as Atletico had a total of 28 shots on goal.

READ| Tuchel's in-form Chelsea held to 1-1 draw at Southampton

But Levante, which had held Diego Simeone's side to a 1-1 draw three days earlier, clinched its first ever away league win over Atletico in 17 attempts when De Frutos surged forward and launched the ball into the net from just past the halfway line.

Atletico went on a relentless run of eight league victories since losing to Real Madrid on December 12.

However, they have taken only five points from four games in February, ceding ground in the title race to champions Real as well as Barcelona, who can move to within six points of the leaders if they beat Cadiz on Sunday.

"We're not happy at all with the result," said Atletico defender Mario Hermoso.

"We had so many attempts on goal but weren't able to score. And if you don't score any goals and keep letting them in you'll be in trouble.

"But I'm sure we'll start scoring soon, we're the same team that got to this stage. It's not easy for us right now but this is a marathon not a sprint."