Real and Atletico register important wins

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MADRID (Reuters) -Real Madrid’s Brazilian duo Eder Militao and Casemiro struck in the second half to secure a 2-0 home win over stubborn Osasuna on Saturday and keep the heat on La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.

Defender Militao finally prised open the visitors’ defence by heading home from a corner in the 76th minute for his first league goal of the season.

Midfielder Casemiro made sure of the points four minutes later with a fortuitous strike when he attempted to control a through ball from Karim Benzema and sent it trickling into the bottom corner of the net, flummoxing keeper Sergio Herrera.

The win took second-placed Real to 74 points from 34 games after Atletico had moved onto 76 by riding their luck to win 1-0 at Elche earlier on Saturday. Fellow title rivals Barcelona and Sevilla are in action on Sunday and Monday respectively.

Atletico ride luck to win after late Elche penalty miss

Atletico Madrid stayed in charge of La Liga’s four-way title race by earning a nerve-shredding 1-0 victory at struggling Elche on Saturday, riding their luck to the extreme when the hosts missed a penalty in stoppage time.

Marcos Llorente scored the only goal with a deflected shot in the 23rd minute but gave away the penalty in the 90th after a careless handball as Atleti defended a free kick after sitting on their slim lead rather than looking to put the game to bed.

Elche midfielder Fidel Chaves’s spot kick beat goalkeeper Jan Oblak but came off the post, providing another twist in an action-packed game in which Atletico had two goals ruled out for offside and a penalty award taken away following a VAR review.

Fidel’s spurned penalty threw Diego Simeone’s side a lifeline in the thrilling title race while leaving Elche still 18th and in the relegation zone. They would have moved out of the drop zone if Fidel had scored from the spot.

The win took Atletico to 76 points with four games left, five clear of second-placed Real Madrid, who host Osasuna later on Saturday, and third-placed Barcelona, who visit Valencia on Sunday. Sevilla, on 70 points, host Athletic Bilbao on Monday.