Atletico Madrid 2-0 Athletic Bilbao: Saul and Morata goals lift Simeone's men into second

By Daniel Lewis 27 October 2019 6
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Athletic Bilbao: Saul and Morata goals lift Simeone's men into second

Saul Niguez and Alvaro Morata were on target as Atletico Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 at Wanda Metropolitano to return to winning ways and move up to second in LaLiga.

The home side had drawn three league games in a row - and four of their last five - to lose ground in the title race, but they rediscovered their scoring touch on Saturday.

Saul opened the scoring for Diego Simeone's men with just under half an hour played and Morata grabbed a second 64 minutes in to seal the victory.

A second win in seven league matches lifted Atletico a point above third-placed Real Madrid and behind leaders Barcelona on goal difference alone, though both those sides have a game in hand to play after this week's El Clasico was postponed for safety reasons.

Atletico are unbeaten in all nine LaLiga home games with Athletic under Simeone, but they needed a sublime save from Jan Oblak two minutes in to keep out Inigo Martinez's header.

Simeone's men grew into the game and took the lead 28 minutes in through Saul, the Spain international beating Unai Simon with a side-foot finish to round off an attack he started.

Morata, Atletico's match-winner in the midweek win against Bayer Leverkusen, killed off the contest with a tap-in with 64 minutes player after being teed up by Angel Correa.

The hosts nearly added a third in stoppage time when Saul glanced wide from a free-kick, but two goals proved enough as they cruised to all three points.

 

What does it mean? Atleti up to second despite recent lack of goals

This was a clash between the joint-lowest scorers in the top half of LaLiga, with Atletico and Athletic managing eight goals apiece ahead of kick-off.

Atletico have been plagued by draws this term, especially goalless ones, but they scored a couple today and are now hot on Barcelona's heels.

Correa lays on both goals

Correa was preferred to the benched Diego Costa in attack and he did superbly at linking up play in the final third.

In the absence of injured club-record signing Joao Felix, Correa set up both goals to prove his worth to Atletico.

Williams struggles to make an impact

Inaki Williams has often proved to be a thorn in Atleti's side, his four goals against them more than he has managed against any other LaLiga opponent.

However, he had just 15 touches of the ball during his 67 minutes on the field - fewer than any other player who started the match.

Key Opta Facts

- Correa has made two assists in the same game for Atletico Madrid in all competitions for the third time.

- Simeone has won 15 of his 19 games against Athletic in all competitions (W15 D2 L2).

- Atletico have become the sixth team to reach 2,700 games in LaLiga, but they have the third-most wins in the competition's history (1,291), after Real Madrid (1,695) and Barcelona (1,640).

- No other player has scored more LaLiga goals for Atletico than Morata in 2019 (eight, level with Antoine Griezmann).

- Oblak has saved 18 of the last 19 shots on target he has faced for Atletico in all competitions, conceding only a direct free-kick goal to Dani Parejo.

What's next?

There is a quick turnaround in matches for both sides as Atletico travel to Deportivo Alaves on Tuesday, while Athletic host Espanyol the following day.

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Daniel Lewis

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