A Coruna (Spain), Oct 31 (IANS) Atletico Madrid was forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against Deportivo La Coruna when Uruguayan defender Jose Gimenez’s blunder led to a late goal by pesky and cool-headed midfielder Lucas, missing out on a chance to temporarily take over the top spot in the La Liga standings. Atletico had Friday night’s game at Riazor Municipal Stadium in hand, leading 1-0 with just 13 minutes remaining here on Friday, but the dogged Lucas took the ball away from Gimenez near Atletico’s goal line and then patiently dribbled the ball around Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak before slotting it home past another Uruguayan defender, Diego Godin, reports Efe. Depor then nearly snagged an improbable victory when a shot by Moroccan midfielder Faycal Fajr clanked off the post in the 88th minute. Prior to those late-game developments, Atletico had appeared to be in command. Using the same lineup for the second straight game for the first time since February, the visitors were in sync and controlled ball possession against an opponent mostly content to wait for opportunities on the counter-attack.
That domination was finally reflected on the scoreboard when an attempted clear ricocheted off Fajr to Tiago Mendes, who fired a curling right-footed shot just inside the post in the 34th minute. Atletico then had a golden scoring opportunity just before halftime but were denied first by the post, which got in the way of a Godin header, and then by a German Lux save. With the draw, Atletico Madrid remains in third place in the standings and could drop a notch or two depending on how Celta Vigo and Villarreal fare on Saturday against Real Sociedad and Sevilla, respectively. Real Madrid and Barcelona both have a league-high 21 points, but Real lead the standings in terms of goal differential. Deportivo is in sixth place with 14 points.