By Tim Stannard
A defeat to lower league Cornella in the Copa del Rey affords Atletico more time to focus on the challenge to win LaLiga
Such is the efficacy and efficiency of a Diego Simeone-branded Atletico Madrid side, that the maximum result is squeezed from every minute of every match, with the minimum effort. It must be said though, that 'minimum' in this case is nothing less that a great deal for other mere mortals.
It is this philosophy that sees Atletico Madrid leading the charge for this season's LaLiga title, to repeat the feat from 2014. The Rojiblancos last two results in LaLiga were by squeaky one goal margins
However, on Tuesday Atletico Madrid ended up on the wrong side of a 1-0 result, losing in the Copa del Rey to third-tier Cornella in one-off clash. Simeone was very much Simeone on the result saying after the match that "it's too soon to give an opinion, the emotions right now are about the result."
Sports Burst is going to offer some help. Those emotions should be relief.
With an already congested timetable to handle in LaLiga and the Champions League, even two or three matches less over the next five months could be a huge help to Atletico in a very real run at the league title.
This possibility adds incredulity to the promise from the Argentinean after the defeat that "we'll look for solutions next year (in the Cup) if we're here."
Diego Simeone will be at Atletico Madrid as long as Diego Simeone wants to be at Atletico Madrid. And that's probably for a long time to come.
The title challenge continues on beIN SPORTS on Saturday with Atletico back in Wanda-Land and taking on Athletic Club from 10:05AM ET.
The Sports Burst live show will head to Madrid to assess the mood in both the Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid camp ahead of another big weekend in La Liga. Head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page and XTRA channel to have your say at 12PM ET.
Barcelona move up to third after Messi's moral-boosting win
The LaLiga standings look a little more normal in these topsy turvy times to say the least on Thursday.
A fun 3-2 win for Barcelona at Athletic Club - with two goals for Lionel Messi, and one for Pedri - puts Barca into third spot.
However, that's where the good news ends - Sports Burst loves the downer - as Ronald Koeman's side is still seven points off Atletico Madrid having played two more games. "I leave happy with the result and how we achieved it," said Barca's happy Dutch coach looking on the bright side.
'The Wise Men' was the headline on the front cover of both Barcelona papers on Thursday - Sport and Mundo Deportivo - with Pedri and Messi pictured, referencing the holiday celebrations in Spain on Wednesday.
Elsewhere on Wednesday on beIN SPORTS, PSG's Project Poch got off to a bit of a slow start with a 1-1 draw away at Saint Etienne. However a defeat for Lille did see PSG actually move up in the Ligue 1 standings into second, three points behind the imperious Kings of Lyon, who hold a three point lead at the top.
You can catch more from a remarkable season from Lyon for free - no subscription, no strings - on Saturday at 3PM ET on beIN XTRA.
Santos take Copa Lib advantage over Boca
It's a glass half-full, half-empty day for Boca Juniors fans on Thursday, the morning after the team's Copa Libertadores semifinal first-leg clash against Santos.
Although a goalless draw is not ideal, the result could have been a lot worse considering the 3-0 defeat for River Plate against Palmeiras the previous day. However, both first legs are pointing in the direction of an all-Brazilian Copa Libertadores final taking place, fittingly, in Rio on January 30.
Both semifinals conclude next Tuesday and Wednesday and both are live, live, live on beIN SPORTS.
The Copa Sudamericana also got its semifinals underway on Wednesday and it is advantage Lanus who took a 1-0 lead at Velez Sarsfield in an all-Argentinean affair.
The second semifinal takes place today and features the only side from the eight teams involved in South America's finale that is not from Argentina or Brazil.
Chilean side Coquimbo Unido are hosting Argentinean side, Defensa y Justicia, in a game that is live on beIN SPORTS from 7:20PM ET. It's quite the continental run from the hosts considering the team is lying second from bottom in Chile's Primera division.