Saturday’s La Liga round-up: Atleti edge Espanyol

Atletico Madrid strengthened their hold on third place in La Liga after edging Espanyol 1-0 at the RCDE Stadium on Saturday night.

Antoine Griezmann scored the winner in the 73rd minute to take his league tally for the season to 16 goals, as Los Colchoneros moved within four points of second-placed Barcelona ahead of their top-of-the-table clash with Real Madrid on Sunday.

The Periquitos, meanwhile, remain in ninth position after seeing their two-match winning streak come to an end.

Earlier in the day, Villarreal bolstered their European chances with a dramatic 2-1 victory against lowly Leganes at La Ceramica.

After a goalless first half, Cedric Bakambu gave the hosts the lead in the 68th minute, but Miguel Guerrero seemingly rescued a late and much-needed point for the Pepineros, who are perched on the edge of the relegation zone.

Bakambu had other ideas, though, as he popped up with the winner deep into extra time to cement fifth spot for the Yellow Submarine.

Elsewhere, Osasuna and Sporting Gijon did their respective survival bids little good after playing out to a 2-2 draw at El Sadar.

An own-goal from Jorge Mere in the 19th minute was all that separated the two relegation-embattled clubs for much of the contest, before Kenan Kodro doubled the hosts' lead 18 minutes from time.

However, Rojiblancos rallied in the closing stages as two goals in the final 11 minutes from Roberto Canella (79') and Carlos Castro (81') rescued a share of the spoils.

The stalemate left Los Rojillos rooted to the foot of the table, nine points adrift of safety, while Sporting edged to within four points of 17th-placed Leganes.

Malaga all but ensured their top-flight status with a 2-0 win over Valencia at La Rosaleda, courtesy of first-half goals from Recio (36') and Sandro Ramirez (40').

The Boquerones moved up to 14th spot, 13 points clear of the bottom-three, with Los Che only four points better off in 12th position.

Saturday's results:

Malaga 2-0 Valencia

Villarreal 2-1 Leganes

Osasuna 2-2 Sporting Gijon

Espanyol 0-1 Atletico Madrid

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