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LIVE FROM SEVILLE: Griezmann free-kick wins point for Atletico Madrid against Sevilla

While some of Europe's top leagues were enjoying their winter break, the sun was shining bright in the south of Spain for Sunday's highly anticipated La Liga fixture between Sevilla and Atletico Madrid.

The sublime conditions only furthered the excitement within the stadium for what was an enthralling contest between second and third on the table.

The opening 25 minutes played out much as you would've expected from both sides; the hosts controlled the majority of possession early while Diego Simeone's dogged outfit were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure.

Despite their control down the middle of the ground, Atleti afforded their opponents far too much space on the wings, with Jesus Navas having a field day against makeshift left-back Saul Niguez.

The Spaniard's dominance almost paid off when, on the 30th minute mark, his teasing cross was floated to the back post, only for Sergio Escudero to send his header two metres over Jan Oblak's goal.

With their tails up, Sevilla's relentless attack resulted in the match's first goal after 36 minutes through Wissam Ben Yedder.

After Andre Silva's long range strike smacked off the post, the resulting corner saw Ben Yedder in the right place in the right time, receiving a pass from Daniel Carrico on the edge of the six yard box and finishing neatly past Oblak for his ninth La Liga goal of the season.

The home supporters weren't celebrating for long, however. With the last kick of the half, Atleti's superstar, Antoine Griezmann, drew his side level with a superb curling free-kick that left goalkeeper Tomas Vaclík fixed to his line.

The 15 minute interval done nothing to quell the growing tension from both sides. Referee Mateu Lahoz awarded three yellow cards within the first nine minutes of the second stanza - and would hand out 12 by the final whistle - as the match ramped up in intensity with both sides searching for another goal.

Ben Yedder once again found himself in a wonderful position inside the box after receiving Roque Mesa's knockdown. But this time the Frenchman's shot, which had Oblak beat, dragged across the far post.

With eight minutes remaining, it was Griezmann who would squander Atleti's best chance of winning the game. Must to the confusion of an otherwise strong Sevilla back three, the World Cup winner found himself onside, but his tame effort was hit straight at the outstanding Vaclik.

The result means Barcelona can extend their lead at the top of the table to five points with a win over Getafe on Sunday night.

Andrew Maclean
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Andrew Maclean

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