Alvaro Morata scored for the sixth game as Atletico Madrid returned to winning ways, beating Espanyol 3-1 at home to stay in touch with the top two in La Liga. (More football news)
Founder Morata, who was remembered for the Spanish squad this week, has discovered his best form, but Atleti had struggled, winless in three in all competitions heading into this match.
Espanyol also saw the ability to advance their misery for 45 minutes, leading through Sergi Darner's strike until Morata created the level for Angel Correa in the first half.
Morata, who had previously rejected a clear opening, struck himself early in the second period, and Koke added a late third for Diego Simeone's men to move back within a point for leaders Barcelona and second-place Real Madrid, who both won on Saturday.
58 & # 39; (2-1) HE CANNOT STOP SCORING
@AlvaroMorata scoring his th goal in matches to put us in the lead
What. A. Exit.
– Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) November 10, 2019
Morata missed a great chance to extend his unbelievable score after 16 minutes, but Vitolos's Diego Lopez slipped it past the keeper.
Espanyol, however, began to forge their own opportunities at the other end, and Darder was clinical, leaping on a weak exchange between Thomas Partey and Koke to tip high past Jan Oblak.
Nonetheless, Morata was influential as Atleti came back on level terms at halftime, with the front reaching the byline and lifting a cross on Correa's head for a simple finish.
The VAR confirmed that Morata was on the scene in the build-up, much to Espanyol's frustration when Naldo – previously substituted for the wound after being run rough by Vitolo – was booked on the bench for his protests.
Active activity began at the start of the second half, with Atleti refusing a penalty when David Lopez and Felipe collided before Morata made compensation for his previous miss by holding a recovering defender to beat Diego Lopez with a right-footed effort .
Espanyol could still have recovered a draw, but David Lopez was penalized for an error on Koke before heading over Oblak, though the Atleti captain appeared to be tangled up with a teammate as he grabbed his face.
Instead, Koke settled the case at the conclusion of a swift counter-attack that controlled the compensation of Diego Costa & # 39; s cut and slid low into the net.
What does it mean? A timely Atletico win
Atletico have not appeared as they might have hoped so far this season, but Barcelona and Real Madrid's own problems have meant that the title race is still open. However, failure to comply with these two in winning the headline into the international break would have represented a significant setback, and the spirit shown to make a convincing showing at three points was admirable.
Morata involved in everything
The early miss was bleak and seemed to cost Atletico for a while, but Morata did more than anything. An assist to Correa settled matters and the expected goal put the hosts ahead. But Morata also led the line brilliantly, providing a rallying point in the absence of ordinary nuisance Costa from the start of XI.
Saul out of position and out of variety
Simeone paid tribute to Renan Lodi's "extraordinary" form Saturday, so there was some surprise when he was benched 24 hours later – especially with midfielder Saul Niguez being preferred as a left-back. Saul should have had a warning for Victor Gomez within two minutes and was positively suspect everywhere as Espanyol's best move came down the side of this failed Atletico experiment.
The main Opta facts
– Correa has been directly involved in four of Atletico's last five LaLiga goals (1 goal, 3 assists).
– Between them, Correa and Morata have either scored or assisted three of Atletico's last four LaLiga goals Morata (two goals, one assist) – Correa (one goal, two assists).
– Espanyol is the LaLiga team that Morata has stood for most (eight) and has scored the most goals (four with Real Sociedad and Leganes).
– Espanyol's Pablo Machin is winless in his four managerial LaLiga matches against Atletico (D3 L1), all with Diego Simeone as Atletico manager (two in charge of Girona, one in charge of Seville and one in charge of Espanyol).
Atletico return to action after the international break with a couple of difficult trips visiting Granada in LaLiga and then Juventus in the Champions League. Espanyol plays Getafe next.
. (tagsToTranslate) Atletico Madrid (t) La Liga (t) Alvaro Morata (t) Espanyol (t) Sergi Darder (t) Cook (t) Diego Simeone (t) Barcelona (t) Real Madrid (t) Spain Football (t) ) Football News