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La Liga: Atletico held to scoreless draw by Deportivo Alaves

Atletico Madrid's title chances took another hit after a scoreless draw at promoted Alaves in the Spanish league on Saturday.

MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid's title chances took another hit after a scoreless draw at promoted Alaves in the Spanish league on Saturday.

It was the second consecutive league draw for Atletico, keeping Diego Simeone's team in fourth place, seven points off the lead.

Atletico, which had won three in a row before enduring the two consecutive setbacks, was outplayed by Alaves during most of the match at Mendizorroza Stadium.

The host's best scoring chance was a close-range shot by defender Victor Laguardia that struck the crossbar in the 30th minute. Off the rebound, striker Deyverson missed the open net with a header.

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Atletico missed its best scoring opportunity in the second half, when Nicolas Gaitan broke free toward the goal but wasn't able to get a shot off as Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco charged from the net to snatch the ball away from the midfielder's feet in the 78th.

Atletico defender Jose Gimenez left the match early in the second half because of an apparent muscle injury.

Alaves, winless in four matches, stayed 12th in the 20-team standings.

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Villarreal snapped its three-game winless streak with a comfortable victory over last-place Granada.

Bruno Soriano scored in the first half, and Alvaro Gonzalez in the second, to remain sixth and in position to fight for a spot in the European competitions next season.

Granada is last after its fourth defeat in the last five matches.

Forward Alexandre Pato was not in Villarreal's lineup because he is negotiating to move to Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian.