Atletico held at Bilbao in blow to top 4 hopes

Diego Costa celebrates his goal holding up the shirt of Atletico women’s player who had brain tumour. (Twitter pic/Atlético de Madrid)

BILBAO: Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday on their return to action after La Liga’s three-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, missing out on the chance to capitalise on slip-ups by their rivals for Champions League places.

Iker Muniain gave Athletic the lead in an empty San Mames stadium by prodding home in the 37th minute to complete a clever move but Atletico responded two minutes later when Diego Costa slotted in following a through ball from Koke.

Diego Simeone’s Atletico side had the best chance to win the game after the interval when Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simon parried a cross from Renan Lodi into the path of Santiago Arias but the keeper recovered to block the rebound with his leg.

Atletico are sixth on 46 points, level with fifth-placed Getafe, who lost at Granada on Friday, and fourth-placed Real Sociedad, who host Osasuna later on Sunday. Athletic are 10th on 38.