Former club Atletico Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Rayo Vallecano on Tuesday thanks to Radamel Falcao’s 92nd-minute penalty.
Atletico Madrid appeared to be on track for a fourth straight LaLiga victory after Alvaro Morata scored a first-time finish from their only shot on target in the first 45 minutes.
Diego Simeone’s men held on to their lead until the final seconds of normal time, when Jose Gimenez handled and Falcao scored from the spot after a brief delay.
A point at home keeps Atletico third, but they have lost ground on champions and leaders Real Madrid, who have a game in hand and are five points ahead.
Within 20 minutes, Antoine Griezmann had won the ball high up the pitch before delivering an inch-perfect cross to Morata, who swept past Stole Dimitrievski.
As Simeone’s side looked for a quick second, Axel Witsel dragged a shot wide of the left post, but Rayo improved as the half progressed, and Ivan Balliu stung the palms of Ivo Grbic with a fierce drive before the break.
Pathe Ciss had a good chance to equalize soon after the break but could only head wide, before Morata nodded wide at the other end.
As Rayo pushed for an equalizer, Sergio Camello sent a low effort agonizingly past the right post, and it appeared that Grbic’s save from Falcao when one-on-one would deny the visitors.
However, with time running out, Gimenez handled from Randy Nteka’s header, allowing Falcao to salvage a point against his former club.
What does it imply? Atletico retaliated
Atletico were punished for failing to score a decisive second goal, with Matheus Cunha coming off the bench with three shots on goal but never truly troubling Dimitrievski.
Nonetheless, Rayo were worth their point by the end, having 14 attempts to Atletico’s 12 and outscoring them 1.6 to 0.9 in terms of expected goals.
Griezmann is the standout performer.
Griezmann ran the show, despite his excellent assist for Morata’s goal, proving himself to be Atletico’s star performer once again.
In an impressive performance, the France international created seven chances, five more than any of his teammates, while only misplacing five passes.
Falcao haunts his former team
Falcao, who scored 52 goals in 68 LaLiga games for the club between 2011 and 2013, denied Atletico their victory.
Falcao scored his first goal against Atletico Madrid in the competition on his second appearance. It was his fourth shot of the game, the most of any player.
What comes next?
Atletico will play Real Betis on Sunday, while Rayo will play Cadiz the day before.