Atletico Madrid’s preparation for Tuesday night’s Champions League round of 16 first-leg tie against Chelsea finished poorly, with Diego Simeone’s side suffering their first home loss of the season in La Liga against Levante.
And Simeone may have suffered an even bigger blow than the defeat, with central defender Jose Maria Gimenez limping out of action.
The defender was expected to miss the tie against Chelsea, but made a surprise return to the starting line up for Atleti’s home clash against Levante.
However, he was forced off shortly after half-time with what looked like a knock to his ankle.
Atletico were already 1-0 down at this stage, with Luis Morales opening the scoring via a deflected strike after 30 minutes.
Simeone’s side laid siege to the Levante goal, notching 28 shots but were unable to break down some stubborn defending and goalkeeping from Dani Cardenas.
Luis Suarez also hit the woodwork with a free-kick from 30 yards as Atletico made a desperate attempt to rescue a point.
In each football.london Chelsea bulletin, we’ll be bringing you the latest breaking news, transfer features and comment pieces, as well as the key talking points for fans.
You won’t miss a single thing when it comes to Chelsea.
We’ll also send special newsletters when big stories break or there’s a special event happening. And with the January transfer window now open there’s plenty of content to get your teeth into.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Chelsea section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
And that’s it, you’re all set.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
For more details, click here.
And in the final minute of stoppage time, keeper Jan Oblak went up for a corner that Levante cleared, with Jorge de Frutos knocking the ball into an empty net from just inside the Atletico half to seal all three points for the visitors.
Gimenez’s injury is the latest blow for Atletico, with Belgian star Yannick Carrasco also a doubt for the clash against Chelsea.
However, Thomas Lemar did return to action for Simeone’s side on Saturday, replacing Gimenez as the manager opted to go on the offensive in the second half.