Atletico close on Real Madrid ahead of derby
Atletico Madrid’s fine form continued as Filipe Luis scored the winner in a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad to close to within seven points of La Liga leaders Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Luis had scored his first goal of the season in Saturday’s 2-0 win at Malaga and netted for the second consecutive game for the first time in his career by rounding off a fine team move on 28 minutes.
Fernando Torres, Yannick Carrasco and Angel Correa all passed up chances to add to Atletico’s advantage, but they held on to move three points clear of Sevilla in the battle for third. Real Madrid still have two games in hand on Atletico, but the two face each other in the Madrid derby on Saturday.
Real and Barcelona are in action on Wednesday when they take on Leganes and Sevilla respectively. Atletico will travel to the Santiago Bernabeu brimming with confidence after a fifth straight La Liga win.
“Other than the opening 15 minutes when they dominated the ball, we imposed our tempo, pressed well high up the pitch and created chances,” said Atletico boss Diego Simeone. “It is a very important win.”
Antoine Griezmann came close twice in quick succession against his former club as his first effort was deflected behind before Geronimo Rulli got down well to save low to his right.
The French international was also involved in the only goal as Luis exchanged passes with he and Torres before slotting home.
Torres then somehow failed to double Atletico’s lead as he turned Carrasco’s low cross onto the post with the goal gaping an then fired the rebound into the side-netting. Carrasco was also then wasteful as he shot too close to Rulli after an unselfish cutback by Griezmann.
Griezmann was replaced by Angel Correa with 19 minutes remaining as Diego Simeone looked ahead to Saturday’s derby and the visit of Leicester in their Champions League quarter-final, first leg next midweek.
And Correa also passed up a huge chance to seal the three points when he blasted wide with just Rulli to beat 10 minutes later. A third defeat in four games sees Sociedad slip to seventh as Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao boosted their chances of Europa League qualification.
Bilbao were 2-0 victors over Espanyol thanks to Aritz Aduriz’s first-half double to move up to sixth. Villarreal are in fifth as Adrian Lopez scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at Real Betis.