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Suárez scores and Oblak saves penalty to secure Atlético win

Luis Suárez scored early in the second half and Jan Oblak saved a late penalty as leader Atlético Madrid avoided another setback in the Spanish league on Sunday by beating Alavés 1-0.

The win, only its third in the last seven league games, left Atlético six points in front of Real Madrid and seven ahead of Barcelona, which visits fifth-place Real Sociedad later Sunday. Madrid won 3-1 at Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Suárez, who had scored only twice in the last nine matches in all competitions, put Atlético ahead with a diving header in the 54th minute after a cross by Kieran Trippier.

Atletico Madrid's goalkeeper Jan Oblak celebrates with his teammates after stops a penalty kick during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Alaves at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP PhotoManu Fernandez)

Oblak preserved the victory by diving to his right to make a superb one-hand save in an 86th-minute penalty taken by Joselu.

Diego Simeone’s team held a comfortable Spanish league lead until recently but had been gradually losing ground as Barcelona and Madrid charged to the top.

Atlético was coming off elimination against Chelsea in the round of 16 of the Champions League and had been held 0-0 at Getafe in its previous Spanish league match.

Atletico Madrid and Alaves play during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Alaves at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP PhotoManu Fernandez)

Aláves has lost five of its last six league games. It sits second-to-last in the 20-team standings with 23 points, two from safety.

Atlético next visits fourth-place Sevilla and Barcelona hosts relegation-threatened Valladolid.

OTHER RESULTS

Alaves' Joselu kicks the ball as he fail a penalty shoot during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Alaves at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP PhotoManu Fernandez)

Seventh-place Villarreal beat Cádiz 2-1 with goals by Gerard Moreno and Carlos Bacca.

Valencia beat Granada 2-1, thanks to goals from Daniel Wass and Álex Blanco.

Getafe, winless in three league matches, was held 1-1 by relegation-threatened Elche.

Atletico Madrid's Luis Suarez, second right, celebrates with his teammate Stefan Savic after scoring his side's first goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Alaves at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP PhotoManu Fernandez)

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Atletico Madrid's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 7, 2021. (AP PhotoManu Fernandez)

Atletico Madrid's Luis Suarez, left, celebrates with Marcos Llorente after scoring his side's opening goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 7, 2021. (AP PhotoManu Fernandez)

Atletico Madrid's Luis Suarez, left, celebrates with Angel Correa after scoring his side's opening goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 7, 2021. (AP PhotoManu Fernandez)