La Liga, Round 23 review: Atlético Madrid stunned by Almeria, Barcelona reclaim first place

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

It took 18 years for Atléti to return to first place in La Liga and just a week for them to lose the top spot.

After an 18 year wait to regain the top spot in the league, Atlético Madrid's reign at the top of the table lasted a week. Thanks to a shocking defeat against struggling Almeria, Los Colchoneros gave up their three point advantage over Barcelona and Real Madrid and dropped to third place, despite being even on points.

Barca and Madrid both won easily and thanks to tiebreakers, the Blaugrana are back on top of the league after a short break. Don't fret though, the title race is still very much on and remains a three team affair for the time being.

Real Sociedad failed to take advantage of Villarreal's loss, earning just a point in a drab scoreless draw against Levante. La Real are three points behind the Yellow Submarine who themselves got a bit of luck as Athletic Bilbao drew with Celta Vigo, keeping Villarreal within four points of fourth place.

Down in the relegation battle Real Betis returned to form after a rare win last week, getting dismantled 5-0 by Valencia. They remain in last place, now six points behind Real Valladolid (who drew against Elche) and seven behind Rayo Vallecano (who got a big win over Málaga). With both Málaga and Granda losing, Vallecano and Rayo are inching closer to potentially escaping the drop zone.

Round 23 was sponsored by the number two as five players had braces over the weekend. Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema, Paco Alcacer (Valencia), Humberto Osorio (Valladolid) and Verza (Almeria) all found the back of the net twice.

Here's a full list of the results from round 23 in Spain.

Espanyol 1-0 Granada
Valencia 5-0 Real Betis
Rayo Vallecano 4-1 Málaga
Real Madrid 4-2 Villarreal | Full match report here
Almeria 0-2 Atlético Madrid
Osasuna 2-0 Getafe
Real Valladolid 2-2 Elche
Real Sociedad 0-0 Levante
Sevilla vs. Barcelona | Full match report here
Celta Vigo 0-0 Athletic Bilbao

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