Atletico coach given lifeline with win over Mallorca

Updated: Jan 18, 2011, 09:56 AM IST

Barcelona: Atletico Madrid beat Real Mallorca 3-0 on Monday to maintain their hunt for a European place and ease the pressure on coach Quique Sanchez Flores.

Recent poor form including a 4-1 thumping by Hercules put Sanchez Flores in the firing line and there were rumours that if they lost to Mallorca and city rivals Real Madrid in their second leg cup-tie, he would be sacked.

However, Atletico responded to some good early possession from Mallorca with Juan Valera heading home a Jose Antonio Reyes corner.

Cameroon hitman Pierre Webo had a shot blocked by Atletico keeper David De Gea before Diego Forlan extended Atletico’s lead.

The key moment of the second-half came when Antonio Lopez conceded a penalty for pushing over Emilio Nsue and was dismissed. Webo stepped up to take the penalty but De Gea guessed right and blocked well.

Mallorca also finished with ten men after Jonathan De Guzman was sent off for a tackle from behind on Juanfran Torres and in the final minute Reyes wrapped up the scoring on the counter-attack.

On Sunday Barcelona had moved four points clear at the top of the table with a 4-1 win over Malaga.

It was another master class of attacking football from the Catalan side with Andres Iniesta opening the scoring after just seven minutes and there was no coming back for the visitors.

David Villa claimed a double and Pedro Rodriguez slotted home the other with Sergio Duda scoring the only goal in reply for Malaga.

Earlier an Esteban Granero strike rescued a point for misfiring Real Madrid who drew 1-1 against strugglers Almeria.

Real were struggling to break down a battling Almeria team who took the lead against the run of play through Jose Ulloa.

The game appeared to be going away from Real until Granero - nicknamed ‘Il Pirata’ - found the back of the net with 13 minutes to go.

Bureau Report