Joao Felix came off the bench to rescue a point for Atletico Madrid against 10-man Espanyol as they drew 1-1 at the Metropolitano on Sunday.
The game had started with some jeers from the crowd after Atletico finished bottom of their Champions League group in midweek, and the mood did not improve as the Rojiblancos struggled to break down their visitors.
It looked to be set up nicely for the hosts when Leandro Cabrera was sent off in the first half, but despite having an extra man, Atletico contrived to fall behind after Sergi Darder’s volley just after the hour mark.
Joao Felix arrived to bring the scores level with just over 10 minutes remaining, but a draw will still be a disappointing result for home coach Diego Simeone in the circumstances.
Espanyol lost a man in the 28th minute when Cabrera saw red after being judged to have brought down Alvaro Morata when trying to prevent the Spain striker from racing through on goal.
Marcos Llorente went close shortly after when he got on the end of a cross from the left by Reinildo but sent his first-time effort over the crossbar.
It was Espanyol who took the lead against the run of play in the 62nd minute, with Oscar Gil’s cross from the right headed back across goal by Joselu for the unmarked Darder to volley past Jan Oblak.
In the 78th minute, Felix chested down a ball out to the left by fellow substitute Thomas Lemar before dashing towards goal and rifling a left-footed shot inside Benjamin Lecomte’s near post, though Atleti were unable to find a winner.
What does it mean? Pressure increases on Simeone
There will have been some relief when Joao Felix struck the equaliser as the game looked likely to get away from Atletico prior to that, but to drop two points at home to a struggling team with fewer players is far from ideal.
Atletico have not won any of their last four games at the Metropolitano in all competitions and are already 10 points off the top of LaLiga, which will become 11 if Real Madrid beat Rayo Vallecano on Monday.
Simeone’s men had 27 shots in the game, the most they have managed in a league game this season, but hit the target just seven times.
Draw specialists strike again
The hosts may have been uninspired in attack, but Espanyol must be praised for their resilience after being reduced to 10 men.
Diego Martinez’s side have now drawn six games in LaLiga, more than any other team.
Correa reaches milestone
He may not have been able to win the game for his team when he came off the bench at half-time, but Angel Correa did tick off a notable landmark.
The Argentinian made his 250th LaLiga appearance for the club, becoming only the 18th player to do so in Atletico’s history.
Atletico travel to face Mallorca on Wednesday, while Espanyol host Villarreal on the same day.