LEAGUES

Atletico Madrid 2-1 Deportivo Alaves: Saul & Costa strengthen grip on third

about 2 months ago
Share

Saul Niguez and Diego Costa struck as Atletico Madrid overcame a slow start to see off Alaves in LaLiga.

Atletico Madrid took a big step towards sealing Champions League qualification as they defeated Deportivo Alaves in a 2-1 LaLiga win at Wanda Metropolitano.

After a low-key start to Saturday's contest, a Saul Niguez header just before the hour mark put the hosts in front.

Two Atleti substitutes played a part in the second as Diego Costa converted a penalty won by Marcos Llorente to wrap up what ultimately proved to be a comfortable victory for Diego Simeone's side.

Joselu scored a stoppage-time penalty for the visitors, but Atletico are now four points clear of Sevilla in fourth and have opened up a superb nine-point cushion over Getafe in fifth.

Alvaro Morata sent an early header just wide, shortly before his flick-on to fellow forward Joao Felix saw the Portugal international send an impressive acrobatic effort narrowly off target.

Jose Maria Gimenez put a free header over from 12 yards and, despite their opponents defending deeply, it was Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak who had the only first-half save to make from Aleix Vidal.

Diego Simeone brought on Costa and Llorente early in the second half as he attempted to inject life into the hosts and the latter made an instant impression, winning a free-kick down the right.

Kieran Trippier sent in a fine delivery and the onrushing Saul converted with a thumping header from six yards for his fourth goal of season, keeper Fernando Pacheco getting a hand to it but unable to make the save.

Alaves almost levelled when a powerful aerial effort from Oliver Burke flew inches wide, but Atleti soon threatened at the other end when Llorente's long-range effort forced Pacheco to parry.

Llorente then showed superb pace and skill down the right before drawing a foul from Ruben Duarte, with Costa sending Pacheco the wrong way from the spot 17 minutes from time.

Three minutes into added time, Joselu sent a fine penalty into the top corner after Koke was penalised for handball, but it was too late for the visitors to recover.


What does it mean? Atletico impressing since lockdown

Atletico took the chance to extend their advantage over Sevilla, who could only draw with Real Valladolid on Friday, and now look almost certain to claim a Champions League spot.

They have impressed since LaLiga resumed after the coronavirus-enforced break – having drawn their first game back, they have won four straight games, with only the late spot-kick denying them a fourth straight clean sheet.

Llorente lifts Atletico

Former Real Madrid midfielder Llorente changed the game when he came on, winning the free-kick and penalty that led to each goal, as well as testing Pacheco with a rasping drive.

Correa struggles to make an impact

Angel Correa only had one blocked shot and 10 completed passes to show for his 57 minutes on the pitch, though he was not the only one to blame for a sluggish Atletico start.

What's next?

Atletico needed points in this match as their next one is a huge test away to Barcelona on Tuesday. Alaves, meanwhile, are at home to Granada a day later as they bid to halt a run of three straight defeats.

Related news

Setien admits Celta draw leaves Barca with 'little margin for error'

about 2 months ago

Suarez frustrated as Barcelona let slip late lead at Celta Vigo

about 2 months ago

Celta Vigo 2-2 Barcelona: Aspas' late leveller hands Real Madrid boost in LaLiga title race

about 2 months ago

Dortmund accept defeat over Hakimi as Inter move seemingly edges closer

about 2 months ago

Arthur on Barcelona bench ahead of reported Juventus medical

about 2 months ago

I won't be at Real Madrid for 20 years – Zidane expects to retire sooner than later

about 2 months ago

Espanyol sack Abelardo as Rufete takes charge of LaLiga strugglers

about 2 months ago

Rumour Has It: Achraf Hakimi to leave Madrid for Inter, Sane's Bayern move on hold

about 2 months ago

I don't know if Pjanic will stay - Juve boss Sarri unconcerned by transfer rumours

about 2 months ago

Dortmund still in 'close contact' with Madrid over Hakimi despite Inter speculation

about 2 months ago

Real Madrid icon Guti dismissed by Almeria following blow to promotion hopes

about 2 months ago

Arthur in Barcelona squad for Celta trip amid Juventus speculation

about 2 months ago

Setien expects last-day LaLiga title drama

about 2 months ago

Ceballos accepts it's 'difficult' to see a future at Real Madrid but Betis return possible

about 2 months ago

Barcelona have not told me Arthur is leaving - Setien

about 2 months ago

We have shown confidence in Lemar - Simeone challenges misfiring Atletico star

about 2 months ago

Germany will give Messi a passport if Argentina don't appreciate him, jokes Matthaus

about 2 months ago

Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid years – Opta data outlines his impact 11 years after joining Los Blancos

about 2 months ago

Rumour Has It: Bayern to offload Thiago to finance Havertz move, Guendouzi talking to Barca and PSG

about 2 months ago