Atlético out of Copa, Sevilla held in Spanish league race
Atlético Madrid was eliminated by Real Sociedad in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, with the 2-0 defeat adding to its poor run and increasing the pressure on coach Diego Simeone.
In the Spanish league, Sevilla missed a chance to move closer to leader Real Madrid after being held 1-1 at Valencia.
Atlético's setback against Sociedad came less than a week after it fell to Athletic Bilbao in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.
Simeone’s team is also struggling in the Spanish league, having lost four of its last six games in the competition and dropping 16 points behind Madrid with a game in hand. Atlético won the league title last season for the first time since 2014.
Criticism over Simeone continues to increase as the team fails to put an end to its struggles.
“The only way we can improve is to keep the players' confidence high in these moments when things are not going well,” Simeone said.
Adnan Januzaj and Alexander Sorloth scored a goal in each half for Sociedad, which won the Copa title in 2020 and was eliminated by Real Betis in the last 16 last season.
It is the third straight season Atlético has failed to get past the Copa's round of 16. It last won the competition in 2013.
There was fan trouble before the match in the Basque Country city of San Sebastián as some Sociedad supporters threw objects at the team bus carrying Atlético players to the Anoeta Stadium, causing some minor damage. No injuries were reported.
Simeone could be seen inside the bus reproaching the Sociedad fans who continued to chant and insult the visitors before police intervention.
Second-place Sevilla couldn't manage more than a draw at Valencia, missing an opportunity to get within two points of Madrid. The draw kept it four points back.
Julen Lopetegui's team took the lead with Mouctar Diakhaby's goal in the seventh minute but the hosts equalized through Gonçalo Guedes just before halftime.
Valencia, sitting in ninth place and coming off two straight league losses, had defender José Luis Gayà sent off for a hard foul in the 89th.
Sevilla was coming off a tough elimination to rival Real Betis in the Copa's round of 16, but had won five of its last six league matches.
CELTA WINS IN LEAGUE
Hugo Mallo and Santi Mina scored first-half goals as Celta Vigo beat Osasuna 2-0 to win two in a row at home for the first time this season.
Osasuna, winless and scoreless in six consecutive away matches in the league, had no shots on target.
Celta moved to 12th place, immediately above Osasuna.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni
This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune .