Rival watch: Atlético and Real Madrid maintain the pressure with 1-0 wins

Antoine Griezmann celebrates his goal against Rayo Vallecano / clubatleticodemadrid.com
FC Barcelona need to beat Betis more than ever after their fellow title contenders both collected three points from their Saturday fixtures

The pressure is on. Both Real Madrid and Atlético won their games on Saturday, meaning that FC Barcelona will need to do likewise at Betis (8.30pm CET) in order to hold onto top spot in La Liga with just two weekends of play to come after that.

Gareth Bale came to the rescue for a Real Madrid team missing both Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, and who simply could not find a way past a stubborn Real Sociedad until the 80th minute. It was then that the Welshman’s header finally won them three points to temporarily go top of the table.

Atlético Madrid replaced them in pole position two hours later after also winning their game 1-0. With a Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich to come midweek, manager Diego Simeone opted to leave both Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres on the bench for the local derby with Rayo Vallecano. It was big gamble, and after 55 minutes there was still no score. On went the two strikers, and with his first touch of the ball, Griezmann found the net.

The results leave Atlético top with 85 points and Real second with 84. Barcelona are third with 82, but hopefully they’ll be bouncing straight back to the top with a win at Betis…