La Liga: Granada 0 – 2 Atlético
Godín and Griezmann on target as Atleti earn three crucial points
Atlético Madrid moved back up to second in La Liga on Saturday night, taking all three points in Los Cármenes as goals from Diego Godín and Antoine Griezmann secured a 2-0 win over Granada.
The red and whites put in a solid performance against the struggling, striking in each half to make sure of the win which was our sixth in a row in all competitions. We are also now up to twelve games unbeaten.
Atleti took to the field with T-Shirts bearing the slogan ‘Ánimo Tiago’, showing support for their injured teammate after he was ruled out for 4 months last week with a broken tibia bone.
The big question ahead of kick-off was who would get the nod to replace him in midfield, and it was Saúl Ñíguez who was chosen to parter Gabi in the Luso’s absence. Otherwise, Cholo lined up as expected with Fernando Torres in attack.
It didn’t take long for his side to make the breakthrough, and again they paid tribute to Tiago by holding up his shirt in celebration after Diego Godín headed home his first goal in La Liga since January.
Like on Tuesday against Reus in the Copa del Rey, Koke was the assistant and he found the Uruguayan in acres of space in the Granada area, who had the simple task of nodding past goalkeeper Andrés for 1-0.
The home side’s game plan looked to be to sit deep and try and stop Atleti from finding a way through, but that went out with the window with the goal and they were forced to look for an equaliser.
However, up against what is now statistically Europe’s best defence after Bayern conceded three earlier in the day, that proved a tough task and they struggled to create any real openings.
Their best chance in the first half came from a quick free-kick, but Jan Oblak was alert and came out quickly to make a good save and ensure the visitors went in a goal up at the break.
José Ramón Sandoval’s side did enjoy a period of pressure after the re-start and forced a few good opportunities through the lively Isaac Success and substitute Robert Ibáñez, but were wasteful and soon punished.
Atleti have been criticised in recent away matches for their defensive approach when going in front, but this time they did find the second killer goal and in some style as well.
The introduction of Óliver Torres on the hour mark helped changed the game, and for the third game running he turned provider as Antoine Griezmann finished off a fabulous team move to double the lead.
Griezmann it was who started the move, and after feeding Filipe out wide, he sold the defender a dummy before latching onto Óliver’s perfectly weighted ball and firing into the top corner.
It was no less than Atleti deserved, and it could have been more if not for some below-par finishing (suprise, surprise) and a couple of good saves from Ándres Fernández.
Substitute Thomas came close to finding the top corner but was inches off target, and Fernando Torres also missed a golden chance to finally score his 100th in red and white in what was a rare full match for him.
Cholo’s men saw out the game on the front foot, and move up to just one point of leaders Barcelona ahead of their game against Valencia this evening.
As we approach a key stage in the season, it looks as if Atleti are hitting their stride at just the right time, and despite still lacking in front of goal are defending better than ever and looking better with each game.
Next up, we look to seal top spot in the Champions League away at Benfica on Tuesday evening, before a meeting with Athletic Bilbao and Raúl García in the Calderón next Sunday.
|Granada||0 2||Atlético Madrid|
|Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes|
|05 December 2015|
|Roberto Ibáñez (63')|
|Nico López (88')|
|Óliver Torres (63')|