Soccer-Atletico can't slip up to have Liga title chance - Gabi

Reuters

MADRID, March 23 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid will need to win all nine remaining La Liga matches if they are to have a chance of pipping city neighbours Real and champions Barcelona to the title, according to captain Gabi.

Atletico's 2-0 win at bottom side Real Betis put them level on 70 points with Real at the top but their local rivals can restore their three-point advantage with a win at home to Barca, who are third on 66 points, in the 'Clasico' (2000 GMT) later on Sunday.

"We are feeling very strong, every day stronger," midfielder Gabi, who scored Atletico's opening goal at Betis's Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville, told reporters.

"We have a lot of faith in the team as a group and we are working every day to keep pace with the top teams," he added.

"We have nine finals ahead of us and if we want to be up there at the top we have to win them all."

Atletico's impressive season under coach Diego Simeone means there is a genuine chance a team other than Real or Barca will win La Liga for the first time since Valencia were champions 10 years ago.

If Atletico and Real finish level on points, Atletico will take the title as they have a better head-to-head record thanks to this month's 2-2 draw at the Calderon and a 1-0 win at the Bernabeu in September.

Atletico are also through to the Champions League quarter-finals and will play Barca home and away at the start of next month. (Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ed Osmond)

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