• Atletico Madrid welcome Rayo Vallecano to Vicente Calderon on Staurday 
  • Diego Simeone’s side are level on points with Barcelona at top of La Liga
  • Real Madrid beat Real Socidedad earlier to go top of La Liga
  • Follow the action as it happens right here with Sportsmail’s live coverage 

Luke Augustus for MailOnline

  • Luke Augustus

    Host commentator

Today’s attendance at the Vicente Calderon is 49,263.

Koke on for Gabi at half-time still shows Simeone is thinking about Tuesday night – because Gabi will start in Munich and can rest his legs for the second half. Should give his team a bit more attacking impetus though, with Koke’s creativity in recent weeks quite marvellous.

46 mins: Atletico make a change at half-time with captain Gabi replaced by Koke.

The visitors get the second half started. Will there be a goal?

Ripples of excitement run through the Calderon when Angel Correa gets on the ball. The young Argentine star is an electric player with a deep bag of tricks, although he still has to become more prolific and more consistent.

35 mins: Bebe becomes the first player booked for a shirt pull on Juanfran.

If someone who didn’t know anything about either of these teams was asked to guess which was fighting for the title and which was battling relegation. they would get it wrong. Atletico struggling to put together anything of note going forward…

PETE JENSON: Is there a better header of the ball in Europe at the moment than Gareth Bale? The statistics say no after his ninth headed goal this season kept Real Madrid in the Spanish title race for another week.

Once again it was Bale who earned Real Madrid the three points – leading from the front in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo. It seems the only thing that Ronaldo does that Bale cannot do is stay fit, and even that has changed in the last week.

Asked if the only thing Bale was lacking in comparison to Ronaldo was that ability to play so many games a season Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane said: ‘He can do everything that Ronaldo can do. When you see a player like Bale score a goal as important as this one then that bodes very well for Wednesday.

CLICK HERE to read the match report in full.

Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring the winning goal for Real Madrid at Real Sociedad

22 mins: A warning sign for the hosts as Rayo force Oblak into a save. Miku gets in behind the Atletico defence but his shot is straight at the hosts’ goalkeeper.

The pace has slowed somewhat, with the visitors having more of the ball than the hosts. That might surprise you based on their relative positions in La Liga (2nd and 16th respectively at the start of play), but Atletico are happy to cede the ball, while Rayo boss Paco Jemez is obsessed with his team having as much of it as possible. Jemez is taking charge of his 150th game in La Liga today – all with Rayo.

15 mins: The game has begun to settle down and as you’d expect – with Atletico dominating possession. They’re unable to penetrate the Rayo back line as of yet though.

Fast start in the bright sun at the Vicente Calderon. Diego Simeone watching on from the presidential box, of course, serving the first of his three game ban.

5 mins: Atletico respond in their tenacious way and come close to taking the lead. They press high causing a Rayo mistake. The ball falls to Angel Correa who breezes past a Rayo challenge before firing a low shot towards the bottom corner. It looks destined for the bottom corner but Juan Carlos tips it behind for a corner with a wonderful save.

Angel Correa (left) shoots at goal early on for Atletico Madrid against Rayo Vallecano

3 mins: The visitors have the first sighting at goal and it’s too far away. Former Manchester United misfit Bebe finds Adri Embarba on the edge of the penalty area who bends a right-footed strike just wide of Jan Oblak’s far post.

The hosts get the match started. Here we go then.

The sun is out at the Vicente Calderon as the home supporters give their team a rapturous reception ahead of kick-off.

Can their team deliver?

Rayo Vallecano: Juan Carlos, Tito, Amaya, Crespo, Quini, Llorente, Jozabed, Embarba, Miku, Bebe, Javi Guerra.

Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Juanfran, Gimenez, Lucas, Gamez; Thomas, Gabi, Kranevitter, O. Torres; Correa, Vietto.

And welcome to Sportsmail’s coverage from Spain as Atletico Madrid host Rayo Vallecano in La Liga.

The match is a Madrid derby but has huge significance for Atletico as they vie for the league title.

Can they secure the three points needed to keep their hopes alive? Follow all the action with myself, Luke Augustus as the unfolds from the Vicente Calderon. Kick-off is in at 5:15pm.

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Following their Champions League heroics midweek Atletico Madrid return to La Liga action to keep pace at the top of the table.

Diego Simeone’s side beat Bayern Munich 1-0 in the first leg of their semi-final at Vicente Calderon and will be relying on home comforts once again as they look to keep the pressure on Barcelona with victory over Rayo Vallecano.

By the time Atletico kick-off this evening, Real Madrid could have leapfrogged them and Barca to the La Liga summit at the title race hots up with just three games to go.

Follow all the action as it happens with Sportmail’s live coverage with RIK SHARMA providing the updates from Spain. Kick-off is at 5:15pm.

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