Atletico Madrid threw away three points against Sporting Gijon that could prove crucial in their quest for La Liga glory this season, according to midfielder Koke.
Diego Simeone’s side appeared to be in complete control at El Molinon on Saturday after Antoine Griezmann’s stunning free-kick had given them a 29th-minute lead.
Atletico – who needed penalties to beat PSV in the Champions League on Tuesday – soaked up plenty of Sporting pressure but were unable to hold on as goals from Antonio Sanabria and Carlos Castro handed the relegation-threatened hosts a much-needed victory.
The defeat could see Atletico fall 11 points behind Liga leaders Barcelona should the latter beat Villarreal on Sunday, while Real Madrid could move to within one point of their city rivals with victory over Sevilla.
“We were fully prepared to play two games in a week, we had held up well,” said Koke.
“[But] we have thrown away three very important points in the fight for the title. It makes it very difficult for us.
“We are still in contention. Barcelona face a very tough match against Villarreal.”
Atletico’s day went from bad to worse with the news defender Jose Maria Gimenez suffered a hamstring injury during the defeat.
— Atleti English (@atletienglish) March 19, 2016
No timescale has been put on his return, but it will be a blow to Simeone who is already without Diego Godin with a similar problem.