Football: Fan death in street clashes overshadows Atletico Madrid's win over Deportivo

Spanish police escort Deportivo Coruna fans upon leaving Vicente Calderon stadium after their Spanish first division soccer match against Atletico Madrid in Madrid, on Nov 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Spanish police escort Deportivo Coruna fans upon leaving Vicente Calderon stadium after their Spanish first division soccer match against Atletico Madrid in Madrid, on Nov 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid climbed above Barcelona into second in La Liga thanks to a 2-0 win at home to Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday in a match overshadowed by the death of a Deportivo fan in violent clashes near the stadium.

A 43-year-old supporter of the Galician club, who was not identified by name, had to be fished out of the freezing Manzanares river near Atletico’s Calderon stadium after dozens of rival fans battled in the streets a few hours before kickoff.

He suffered cardiac arrest, hypothermia and head injuries and hospital sources later said he had died shortly after 2 pm local time (9pm Singapore time) after failing to respond to efforts to revive him.

Earlier, midfielder Saul Niguez had put Atletico ahead two minutes before halftime and playmaker Arda Turan made it 2-0 10 minutes into the second half to lift Diego Simeone’s side to 29 points from 13 matches, four behind leaders Real Madrid.

It was Atletico’s fifth victory in their last six La Liga outings as they seek to defend the Spanish title they won last season for the first time in 18 years.

“We came into the game after two wins and we wanted to continue the run,” defender Diego Godin told Spanish TV. “Our opponents respect us and they know we are a difficult team to play here at home,” added the Uruguay international, who said the troublemakers outside the ground “do not represent football or any team”. “This curse must be eradicated from football,” he said.

“The Atletico and Depor fans do not deserve to have their image damaged by a few.”

Real set a club record of 16 straight victories in all competitions when they won 2-1 at Malaga on Saturday.

Barca can climb back above Atletico into second, two points behind Real, with a win at fourth-placed Valencia in a later fixture.