Atletico Madrid extended their La Liga lead to four points on Tuesday after a 2-0 win over Sevilla that bolstered their title qualifiers.
Goals in each half from Angel Correa and his replacement Saul Niguez on a frosty night after a historic snowfall in the Spanish capital allowed Diego Simeone’s side to increase the gap between them and their rivals of Real Madrid.
The game at Wanda Metropolitano was one of Atletico’s three ongoing games against Madrid and Barcelona, who are still three points behind in third.
Sevilla, meanwhile, remain sixth with 30 points, tied with fifth-placed Real Sociedad.
Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid will have a tough job defending their La Liga crown on proof of Tuesday’s display which carried all the hallmarks of a Simeone side.
Kieran Trippier returned to Atletico’s side after FIFA suspended the England international’s 10-week ban for breaking betting rules.
And the 30-year-old marked his comeback by helping Correa open the scoring in the 17th minute with a cut that still left the Argentine with plenty of work to do as he controlled the ball in the zone.
Correa quickly got the measure and got his shot right before Fernando could close it, and his effort passed Yassine Bounou in the Sevilla goal.
Trippier nearly got another pass eight minutes later when his smart pass put Luis Suarez out of the way, but Bounou did well to charge and block the Uruguayan’s close-range effort.
Sevilla pushed a typically tenacious Atletico, but couldn’t take advantage of that game’s few chances and was penalized 14 minutes from time by Saul’s first goal of the season.
The Spaniard was cool just outside the box as he scooped the low ball from Marco Llorente from the right before firing a left-footed shot into the far corner to secure the fifth straight win for the Atletico in the league since losing in the Madrid derby last month.
Previously, Granada had kept in touch with European places with a 2-0 home victory over the humble Osasuna.
Diego Martinez’s side are seventh, three points behind Sociedad and Sevilla, who occupy Europa League places, thanks to goals from Colombian striker Luis Suarez and Sergio Herrera.
© 2021 AFP