Atletico Madrid are looking to keep the pressure up on Barcelona at the top of the table, and make sure they retain their lead over local rivals Real Madrid. They did so with a win over Athletic Bilbao, but they didn’t make it easy for themselves.
It was the visitors who took the lead first, but Atletico Madrid won’t have been happy at the way they conceded. Aritz Aduriz forced a save from the keeper with a cheeky chip, giving his side a corner. Some poor marking meant Bilbao won the header at the near post and flicked it on, with Aymeric Laporte left free at the far post to smash it into the roof of the net. 1-0.
Madrid hadn’t been making the most of their chances and looked as though they’d go into the break behind, deservedly too. They got a break right before the whistle though, finding the net with the last kick of the half. It was another set piece, and more poor defending resulted in a goal. Saul was the man who headed in, directing the corner towards the near post. The keeper flapped at it wildly, and was left in a pile on the floor with the ball in the back of his net.
There was a great chance after the break for the home side to take the lead for the first time, with some superb work from Luciano Vietto causing problems for Bilbao. He played the ball in from the right, picking out Antoine Griezmann, with support on the Frenchman’s left in acres of space. He failed to take the ball in his stride or pick out a teammate though, and the chance went begging.
Griezmann made up for his error later in the half however, scoring one of the finest goals you’re likely to see for a while. Sloppy defending from Bilbao saw the ball given away at the edge of the box, but with bodies all around him you could hardly even call it a chance. Griezmann really put his foot through the ball though, lashing it with real venom into the far corner.
Bilbao were rocked by the goal, and their confidence was visibly shaken. They never really got back into the game, and Atletico’s defence stood firm.