Antoine Griezmann’s second-half strike helped Atletico Madrid to all three points with a 1-0 win over Athletic Club.
Atletico made the brighter start and thought they’d taken the lead when Alvaro Morata latched onto Nahuel Molina’s brilliant through ball and rifled home, only for VAR to step in and have the goal ruled out for a foul in the build-up.
That was the only effort of a lacklustre first half in which neither side gave an inch to the other with defences locked tight and forwards left frustrated.
But 90 seconds into the second half the match finally came to life when Alvaro Morata turned smartly inside the box before picking out Griezmann who fired home from 12 yards.
Geoffrey Kondogbia almost doubled Atletico’s lead with a vicious effort from distance, but the two sides continued to frustrate each other for the remainder of the second half.
Griezmann’s goal was enough to ensure Atletico leapfrogged their opponents in the table to go third.
MAN OF THE MATCH – STEFAN SAVIC
Just an utterly comprehensive defensive performance from Savic and he managed it all even without getting booked. The hosts barely had a sniff.
TALKING POINT – ATLETICO DO IT BEST
This was the closest thing to a vintage Diego Simeone performance you can get.
A tricky away game to the team placed third in the league, snatch a goal, defend for your lives, grab a few yellows in the process and stop everyone from playing football.
They’ve done it a hundred times and now they have Gimenez and Savic back at the back, expect to see an Atletico side capable of challenging for top prizes because this is exactly how they’ve done it before.
Athetlic Club: Simon 5, Lekue 6, Martinez 7, Alvarez 7, De Marcos 6, Vesga 7, Sancet 6, Berenguer 6, Munian 6, N Williams 7, I Williams 5. Subs. D Garcia 5, R Garcia n/a, Villalibre 5, Vivian 4, Zarraga 5.
Atletico Madrid: Oblak 6, Molina 7, Savic 8, Gimenez 8, Mandava 6, Lemar 5, De Paul 6, Kondogbia 7, Koke 5, Morata 7, Griezmann 7. Subs. Grbic 6, Witsel 6, Correa 7, Felix 5, Saul Niguez 5
10′ – GOAL! ATHLETIC CLUB 0 ATLETICO MADRID 1 (Morata). Straight back on his feet! Morata dusts himself down and grabs the opener for Atletico! Simeone was barking at his side to get forward faster and they move from one end of the pitch to the other in no time. And Morata gets a killer pass over the top from right-back Molina before fighting off Alvarez to score. BUT! VAR are taking a look…
11′ – GOAL DISALLOWED! As you were! Jorge Figueroa Vazquez the ref goes to the small screen and decided that Morata fouled Alvarez when through on goal. Simeone shakes his head in disbelief. The game remains goalless.
47′ – GOAL! ATHLETIC CLUB 0 ATLETICO MADRID 1 (Griezmann, 47). Easy as you like, Morata wiggles into space and squares for Griezmann inside the box who taps home. Will that bring the game to life?