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Saturday European Rewind: Atletico starts year with win; Newcastle out of FA Cup; and more

AtleticoMadridJuanfranKoke1-Sevilla (Getty)


Atletico Madrid heaped pressure on Spain’s top two in the club’s first league game of 2015.

With a 3-1 win over Levante, the defending champions now sit even on points with Barcelona and are just one point behind leaders Real Madrid. Both teams are in action on Sunday.

Atletico secured all three points with relative ease, although there was a time in the second half when Levante looked ripe for a comeback. Antoine Griezmann had the hosts up 2-0 before Nabil El Zhar struck for Levante in the 62nd minute. Diego Godin sealed the victory when he finished off Tiago’s cross in the 82nd minute.

With new loan signing and club legend Fernando Torres looking on, Atletico began 2015 the way it ended last year to stay in the thick of the La Liga title race.

Top-flight action halted in England this weekend to make way for the FA Cup third round, but a pair of Premier League teams still clashed. Leicester City edged past manager-less Newcastle 1-0, while Swansea City and West Brom had easy times against lower-league opponents.

Here’s all the action from Europe on Saturday:


In addition to Atletico’s quest for the top, a pair of teams chasing UEFA Champions League spots went to battle in Spain’s first day of play in the new year.

Sevilla jumped into fourth place with an uninspiring 1-0 win over Celta de Vigo. Nicolas Pareja’s well-taken free kick in the 32nd minute provided the difference.

After Celta’s Carles Planas was sent off in the 21st minute, however, Sevilla fans will have wanted more than 54 percent possession and four shots on goal.

Three points were still crucial for Sevilla after Villareal slumped to a 2-2 draw against Elche. After just 12 minutes the young Argentine striker Luciano Vietto had Villareal up 1-0.

His striking partner Ikechukwu Uche doubled that just six minutes later, but the team’s dominance was brief. Elche hit back in the 26th minute through Cristian Jonathas then equalized with a strike from Victor Rodriguez all before halftime.

Here’s all the scores from Spain:

Atletico Madrid 3, Levante 1

Sevilla 1, Celta de Vigo 0

Elche 2, Villareal 2

Deportivo La Coruna 1, Athletic Bilbao 0

Malaga 1, Almeria 2


The seventh goal of the season for Leonardo Ulloa is one of Leicester’s most valuable this season.

His 39th minute strike was enough to sink fellow Premier League team Newcastle and take the Foxes into the FA Cup fourth round. On the day that former manager Alan Pardew was paraded around as Crystal Palace’s new boss, the Magpies looked in need of a leader.

Two other top-flight teams in action on Saturday had an easier time. Bafetimbi Gomis scored twice for Swansea in a 6-2 win over Tranmere Rovers, and with new boss Tony Pulis taking charge for the first time West Brom thumped Gateshead 7-0.

There were a few surprises in the mix of third round games. Preston North End upset Championship team Norwich City 2-0 and Nottingham Forest’s unlikely 1-0 loss to Rochdale was the club’s third straight defeat.

Blyth Spartans nearly produced a fairytale moment when they went 2-0 up on Championship side Birmingham City, but three goals in the space of six minutes in the second half handed Birmingham a 3-2 win.

Here are all the FA Cup results from Saturday:

Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham 3

Bolton 1, Wigan 0

Brentford 0, Brighton 2

Cambridge 2, Luton Town 1

Charlton Athletic 1, Blackburn 2

Derby 1, Southport 0

Doncaster 1, Bristol City 1

Fulham 0, Wolverhampton 0

Huddersfield Town 0, Reading 1

Leicester City 1, Newcastle 0

Millwall 3, Bradford City 3

Preston 2, Norwich 0

Rochdale 1, Nottingham Forest 0

Rotherham 1, AFC Bournemouth 5

Tranmere Rovers 2, Swansea 6

West Brom 7, Gateshead 0

Barnsley 0, Middlesbrough 2

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