GRANADA (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid lost ground on leaders Barcelona as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 stalemate at Granada on Saturday for a seventh draw in 14 La Liga games.
Diego Simeone's side went ahead on the hour mark through Brazilian left back Renan Lodi but lost their lead soon after when Granada's German Sanchez outjumped his marker Hector Herrera and sent a header crashing into the net.
Simeone brought on record signing Joao Felix in search of a winner but his side barely managed to test keeper Rui Silva in the closing stages, although they were denied a penalty when substitute Dario Poveda went down in added time.
The draw keeps Atletico third on 25 points, three behind Barca who beat Leganes 2-1 away and still have a game in hand, while Real Madrid are second on 25 and were playing one of their two games in hand at home to Real Sociedad later on Saturday.
"We leave here with a bad taste in our mouths because we did everything we could to try and win the game," said Atletico midfielder Koke.
"We defended well but their goal came out of nowhere, it was their only real opportunity to score. We played so well and should have got the three points. We cannot feel bad about how we played today."
Granada made headlines last month by moving to the top of the standings in their first season back in La Liga but they have been on a downward spiral since and had lost their last three league games.
Atleti dominated the game but struggled to translate their superiority into many clear-cut chances and had to settle for a fourth consecutive away draw in the league. Their next fixture is a crunch match at home to Barcelona.
"We are feeling bitter, we know we should have left here with all three points," said midfielder Herrera, who also complained that video technology was not used to determine whether his side should have been awarded a late penalty.
"I don't like to complain about referees as we are all human and make mistakes but it was strange that the video referee did not get involved in what looked like a clear penalty."
(Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Tony Lawrence and Ken Ferris)