MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid beat 10-man Real Betis 2-0 Sunday in the Spanish league to increase the pressure on Real Madrid ahead of its clasico with Barcelona.
Atletico is tied on 70 points with Madrid, which hosts Barcelona later Sunday. Barcelona has 66 points.
Gabi Fernandez opened the scoring in what had been a hard fought contest until Bryan Rodriguez was shown a second yellow card for blatantly swiping at the ball with his hand in the 55th minute.
Gabi was afforded space about 10 meters outside the area to smash a swerving drive beyond outstretched goalkeeper Antonio Adan for the 58th-minute lead.
Diego Costa made it 2-0 in the 64th after Koke headed on to the Spain striker to fire home his 23rd league goal and 31st in all competitions.
While Atletico’s season-long surge sees no signs of dipping with nine rounds left, last-placed Betis is running out of time to avoid relegation after falling nine points from safety.
Earlier, Sevilla continued its late bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League by beating Osasuna 2-1 for a fifth straight victory.
Jairo Samperio put Sevilla ahead after 27 minutes before Carlos Bacca scored a first-half stoppage time penalty after Damia Abella was ajudged to have handled inside the area, which led to Osasuna coach Javi Gracia being dismissed.
Sevilla never looked in danger despite Osasuna substitute Javier Acuna scoring an impressive individual effort in the last play of the game.
Sevilla has 48 points, seven behind fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao on 55. Osasuna is two points above the relegation zone.
Vallencia and Villarreal also play on Sunday, while Real Sociedad faces Almeria on Monday.