- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 1, 2016

MADRID (AP) - Atletico Madrid easily defeated Real Sociedad 3-0 on Tuesday to put some pressure on Spanish league leader Barcelona.

Atletico opened the scoring with an own goal by defender Diego Reyes in the eighth minute and midfielder Saul Niguez added to the lead in the 46th. French striker Antoine Griezmann sealed the victory by converting a 61st-minute penalty at Vicente Calderon Stadium.

The win moves Atletico within five points of Barcelona, which plays at struggling Rayo Vallecano on Thursday to close out the 27th round. Atletico opened a seven-point advantage over third-place Real Madrid, which plays at last-place Levante on Wednesday.

“We will keep trying to do the best we can,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “We know that it will be difficult for Barcelona to falter.”

Atletico was coming off a win over Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Saturday, a result that prompted home supporters to call for the resignation of their club’s president, Florentino Perez. Atletico fans at the Vicente Calderon quickly picked up on it on Tuesday, loudly chanting for Perez to stay in his position.

It was the fourth win for Atletico in its last five league games, and the ninth at home this season. Simeone’s team hasn’t conceded a goal in its last five matches.

Atletico cruised from the start and quickly got on the board, with Reyes finding his own net while trying to intercept a low cross by midfielder Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion.

Niguez made it 2-0 just seconds into the second half, scoring from close range after a cross by Luciano Vietto, and Griezmann added the third from the penalty spot after being brought down inside the area by defender Alberto de la Bella. It was the first penalty kick goal scored by Atletico in the league this season.

Atletico substitute Angel Correa scored in the 90th minute but the goal was ruled out for offside. Replays suggested the midfielder was onside.

Sociedad’s best chance was a header by Reyes that struck the post in the 63rd.

With the game under control, Simeone substituted some regular starters to give them a rest, including Diego Godin and Griezmann. The team has played four games in 10 days.

Sociedad was coming off a home draw against Malaga but had won its previous four league matches.

Simeone made only one change to the lineup from the impressive 1-0 victory over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, replacing Fernando Torres with Vietto.

In the other game Tuesday, Las Palmas moved further away from the relegation zone with a convincing 4-0 home win over Getafe, which played a man down from the 65th after a red card for Uruguayan defender Alvaro Pereira.

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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