Atletico Madrid slumped to a stunning 3-0 loss at CA Osasuna on Sunday, leaving Real Madrid as the sole leaders of the Spanish league for the first time since May 2012.
Osasuna beat Atletico at their own game, both in their tough, physical approach and their set piece strategy to take a three-goal lead at the break after one of Atletico’s worst first halves in three years under coach Diego Simeone.
Alvaro Cejudo opened the scoring from a corner-kick in the sixth minute before fellow forwards Emiliano Armenteros and Roberto Torres added goals in the 21st and 42nd.
Atletico’s loss came one day after Barcelona lost 3-1 at Real Sociedad, with both the former front-runners looking weary after their Champions League trips in midweek.
Atletico fullback Filipe Luis, who returned from injury, said that their win at AC Milan on Wednesday had nothing to do with this defeat.
“Osasuna played a great game,” Filipe Luis said. “You can’t take anything away from them. They beat us in every facet of the match.”
Atletico and Barcelona have both dropped 10 points over the last seven rounds, allowing Madrid to turn a five-point deficit into a three-point lead despite playing without Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo during a three-game suspension. Madrid had not topped the standings since winning the title in 2011-2012.
Simeone quickly needs to restore both his team’s fitness and confidence before they host Madrid next weekend after their crosstown rivals travel to German side Schalke 04 on Wednesday.
Also on Sunday, Athletic Bilbao strengthened their hold on fourth place by winning 2-0 at Real Betis Balompie after the bottom side had two players dismissed, while Valencia and Sevilla won to move to within five points of sixth place and Spain’s last Europa League spot.
Osasuna had already earned draws against Barcelona and Madrid at El Reyno de Navarra Stadium this season, and Javi Gracia’s side lived up to their reputation as being one of the toughest hosts in the Liga.
Valencia needed an injury-time goal from 19-year-old defender Ruben Vezo in his first start to complete a 2-1 comeback win at home over Granada.
Sevilla won 1-0 at Rayo Vallecano de Madrid thanks to fullback Jorge “Coke” Andujar’s 57th-minute header.
Sevilla played the last seven minutes with 10 men after Vicente Iborra received his second booking.