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Atletico tastes victory
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 18 - 12 - 2016

Saul Niguez's second-half strike gave Atletico Madrid a 1-0 win at home to Las Palmas Saturday, its first victory in four games in all competitions.
Saul lashed a loose ball into the top corner from outside the box to break the deadlock in the 59th minute and bring welcome relief to Atletico after a week in which it all but dropped out of the title race and lost goalkeeper Jan Oblak to injury.
Saul came close to giving Atletico the lead in the first half but saw his driven shot clatter against the post, while down at the other end Las Palmas defender Mauricio Lemos let fly from some distance and struck the crossbar.
Diego Simeone's side provisionally goes fifth on 28 points, two above Real Sociedad.
Earlier, Villarreal ended a three-month spell without an away win in all competitions by coasting to a 3-1 victory at Sporting Gijon to tighten its grip on fourth spot.
Villarreal is fourth on 29 points and is guaranteed to finish the year in the Champions League places.
Leipzig downs Hertha to knock Bayern from top
RB Leipzig knocked Bayern Munich, whom it meets in five days' time, off the top of the Bundesliga Saturday with a 2-0 win at home to Hertha Berlin.
With Bayern at bottom side Darmstadt Sunday, Leipzig took its chance to reclaim top spot with a convincing win at the sold-out Red Bull Arena.
Leipzig, who had led for three weeks before last Saturday, are now three points clear.
However, Carlo Ancelotti's Munich can regain top spot due to their superior goal difference by beating Darmstadt, ahead of Wednesday's mouth-watering clash against Leipzig at the Allianz Arena.
Goals either side of the break by striker Timo Werner and burly center-back and captain Willi Orban sealed Leipzig's win.
It put RB back on track after last Saturday's shock 1-0 defeat at Ingolstadt which ended its 13-match unbeaten run — a record for a team at the start of its first Bundesliga season.
Pal Dardai's Berlin drop to fourth after the defeat.
Elsewhere, Mainz midfielder Danny Latza hit a hat trick in his team's 3-1 home win over strugglers Hamburg.
Augsburg's caretaker-coach Manuel Baum got off to winning start as Martin Hinteregger scored from a corner in its 1-0 home home over Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Ex-Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry rescued a point for Werder Bremen with his sixth league goal this season in their 1-1 draw with Cologne to cancel out Artjoms Rudnevs' goal.
Ukrainian winger Yevhen Konoplyanka netted for Schalke in their 1-1 draw with Freiburg.
On Friday, 10-man Borussia Dortmund earned a 2-2 draw at Hoffenheim as the league's top scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, netted their second-half equalizer for his 16th goal of the season.
Hoffenheim remains the only unbeaten team in Germany's top flight this season. — Agencies


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