Madrid, Feb 22 (IANS) Atletico Madrid, in second place in Spain’s La Liga football standings but dropping ever farther behind leaders Barcelona, managed only a scoreless draw against Villarreal before some 53,000 fans at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

All the pressure was on Diego Simeone’s squad on Sunday, since they desperately needed a win to keep pace with Barca. But they were unable to break through fourth-place Villarreal’s iron-clad defence, reports EFE.

“We’ve got to keep working, game after game,” Atletico midfielder Koke Resurreccion said. “We’re still in second place, we’ll continue fighting until the end.”

The rivals played a very tactically measured game in the first half, neither gaining nor giving up much, both being unable to crack the opposing defence, and it proved to be more of the same after the break.

In the 25th week of first division Spanish football action, both Madrid clubs — Atletico and Real Madrid — have 13 more games in which to try and catch up with Barcelona, who have eight consecutive La Liga victories and 63 points, eight points out in front of Atletico.

Real Madrid are in third place with 54 points and Villarreal are fourth with 49.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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