International Soccer - Spain

Atletico tops Granada to keep pace

Granada, Spain ( - Atletico Madrid kept pace with Barcelona at the top of the table by converting a pair of penalties to earn a 2-1 defeat of Granada on Thursday.

The Catalans went four points clear at the La Liga summit with a 3-0 defeat of Celta Vigo on Tuesday, but Atletico's victory at Los Carmenes helped the club improve to 30 points on the season, cutting its deficit behind Barcelona back down to one point.

Atletico went in front seven minutes before the halftime interval when David Villa drew a penalty from a foul by Diego Mainz, which allowed Diego Costa to break the deadlock with his league-leading 12th goal of the season.

The visitors were two goals to the good in the 78th minute as Villa drew another foul in the box, this time converting the ensuing attempt himself for his fifth goal of the campaign.

Atletico was reduced to 10 men in the 89th minute when Filipe Luis picked up a second yellow card for a foolish intentional hand ball, a dismissal that allowed Granada to pull one back through Odion Ighalo's header in the 90th minute.

But Ighalo's strike proved to be nothing more than a consolation goal as Atletico held on for the victory.

Elsewhere in La Liga action on Thursday, Real Betis had Francisco Chica Torres sent off in the 30th minute while Jorge Molina failed to convert a penalty kick in the 75th minute as the club was held to a 0-0 draw by Levante, Athletic Bilbao overturned a two-goal deficit to take a point from a 2-2 draw with Elche and Ciprian Marica and Sarabia netted a goal apiece in Getafe's 2-0 defeat of Villarreal.

10/31 19:00:55 ET

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