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January 03, 2015

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Antoine Griezmann headed in two more goals to lead Atletico Madrid to a 3-1 win over Levante, as the defending champions pulled to within one point of the Spanish league lead on Saturday.

Sevilla remained the only undefeated team at home this season after it edged 10-man Celta Vigo 1-0 despite a lackluster performance, while bottom side Elche fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with visitors Villarreal.

With winter reinforcement Fernando Torres watching from the stands at Vicente Calderon Stadium, Griezmann added to his hat trick from the last round by scoring in the 18th and 47th minutes.

The France forward first reached Siqueira's cross at the near post to turn it past goalkeeper Diego Marino, and he followed that by nodding in a rebound after Marino stretched to save Mario Mandzukic's initial try for his eighth league goal of the campaign.

Levante substitute Nabil El Zhar pulled one back in the 62nd, but Diego Godin headed in a third goal to secure the victory eight minutes from time.

Atletico pulled level on points with Barcelona before it visits Real Sociedad on Sunday. Leader Real Madrid is one point ahead of its main title rivals with two games in hand.

Torres could debut in his return to his boyhood club on Wednesday when Atletico hosts Madrid in the Copa del Rey. Diego Simeone's side then faces a trip to Barcelona's Camp Nou in the league next weekend.

"Fernando is a player from this house that creates a lot of excitement," said Godin. "He has come to do his part and you can see he wants to do well.

"This (win) will help us face a hard week of important matches."

Sevilla defender Nico Pareja curled in a free kick for the 32nd-minute winner after Celta's Carles Planes received a direct red card for a low tackle in the 20th.

The undermanned Celta still managed to dictate the action until waning late, but Sevilla held on to rise past Valencia into provisional fourth place and the last Champions League spot.

Celta's losing streak reached eight rounds as it stayed in eighth place.

Villarreal seemed set to extend its five-round winning run after its fast-paced attack produced goals from strikers Luciano Vietto in the 12th and Ikechuwku Uche in the 18th.

But Elche immediately responded with a flurry of chances before Jonathas beat 'keeper Sergio Asenjo with a powerful volley in the 26th and Victor Rodriguez scored off the post in the 35th.

Villarreal was left in sixth place, behind Valencia in fifth on goal difference.

Later, Malaga hosted Almeria, while Athletic Bilbao traveled to Deportivo La Coruna.

On Sunday, Madrid has a tough trip to Valencia.

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