LaLiga: Atletico Madrid race to eight-point lead atop league with narrow Granada victory

Barca, who are third and 11 points behind the leaders, face Alaves at home later on Saturday before Real Madrid host Valencia on Sunday.

Agence France-Presse February 13, 2021 22:17:40 IST
LaLiga: Atletico Madrid race to eight-point lead atop league with narrow Granada victory

Atletico Madrid's Angel Correa (second from left) celebrates after scoring a goal against Granada FC on Saturday. AFP

Madrid: Atletico Madrid swerved a second consecutive slip in LaLiga on Saturday by squeezing past Granada 2-1 to move eight points clear at the top of the table.

After drawing at home to Celta Vigo on Monday, Diego Simeone's side got back on track with a narrow victory at Los Carmenes, secured by Angel Correa's fortuitous winner in the second half.

There was a hint of luck in Granada's equaliser too, Yangel Herrera's shot deflecting off Marcos Llorente, who had himself put Atletico in front only three minutes earlier.

Barca, who are third and 11 points behind the leaders, face Alaves at home later on Saturday before Real Madrid host Valencia on Sunday.

"The most important thing today was the fight and the energy of the team," said Simeone afterwards.

At the full-time whistle, he shook his fists and sprinted down the tunnel, his relief evident at the end of a game that could easily have seen more points dropped for his side.

Granada have been one of the stories of the season, sitting eighth under Diego Lopez after being promoted two years ago, and they were far from outclassed by LaLiga's frontrunners.

Suarez had scored in six of the previous seven games but for once the 34-year-old was not the matchwinner, with Llorente and Correa — two unsung heroes this season — instead proving the difference.

Llorente's goal was his seventh of the season while his lay-off for Correa was his sixth assist.

"As coaches trophies are wonderful because they fill you with excitement and glory," Simeone said of Llorente. "But when you work with a footballer and see them grow, you feel even more joy and more enthusiasm to keep doing what you're doing."

Suarez went closest to giving Atletico the lead when his shot into the ground flew up and grazed the crossbar just after half-time.

A mis-control by the Uruguayan at the back post saw another chance go begging but Llorente took over, nipping in from the right and dragging a shot with his left foot inside the near post.

It was the first of three goals in 11 minutes, as Herrera equalised shortly after.

Atletico's Yannick Carrasco and Saul Niguez were both guilty of light challenges on Jorge Molina, who battled to shift the ball into the path of Herrera, whose finish hit Llorente and crept in.

But eight minutes later, Atletico were ahead again, the final shot taken by Correa, after more good work from Llorente. Correa weaved into space in the area, his driven effort skipping up off Jesus Vallejo and looping into the far corner.

 

Updated Date:

Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply

also read

Champions League: Real Madrid hit by Karim Benzema injury ahead of match against Atalanta
Sports

Champions League: Real Madrid hit by Karim Benzema injury ahead of match against Atalanta

Madrid might cope without Benzema against Valladolid but his absence for the trip to Bergamo in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday would be a huge blow.

European football matchday: Atletico Madrid keen to widen gap on Barcelona, Real Madrid
Sports

European football matchday: Atletico Madrid keen to widen gap on Barcelona, Real Madrid

Leading scorer Luis Suárez has four yellow cards and one more would mean he would miss the next round's derby with Real Madrid.

LaLiga: Real Madrid move close to top with win over Valladolid; Atletico suffer surprise loss against Levante
Sports

LaLiga: Real Madrid move close to top with win over Valladolid; Atletico suffer surprise loss against Levante

Real Madrid's victory at the Jose Zorilla Stadium was their fourth in a row, three of those coming with clean sheets, which suggests a return to form for a defence that all but clinched them the title last season.