MADRID (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid’s frustrating La Liga run continued as Daniel Parejo’s stunning late free kick earned Valencia a deserved 1-1 draw in the Metropolitano on Saturday.
It had looked as if Diego Costa’s 36th-minute penalty would earn Diego Simeone’s misfiring side only their second win in six league games but they were unable to hold on.
Victory would have taken Atletico back into third spot but they lost ground on Barcelona who moved top earlier on Saturday with a 3-0 victory over Eibar.
Atletico dominated the first half but Costa and his strike partner Alvaro Morata both missed decent chances.
Costa broke the deadlock when Denis Cheryshev was adjudged by the referee, via a VAR check, to have blocked a cross with his arm and the striker sent Jasper Cillessen the wrong way with the resulting spot-kick for only his second goal of the season.
Valencia were more dangerous after the break and Russian striker Cheryshev spurned a great chance when he fired against the bar from close range.
There was an edginess in the Atletico ranks after Parejo’s dipping free kick in the 82nd minute gave keeper Jan Oblak no chance and Parejo soon went close to snatching the points for the visitors.
Atletico have 16 points from nine games, three more than Valencia.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)