Atletico Madrid keep heat on La Liga front-runners with win vs. Granada
Atletico Madrid climbed back into third place in the Primera Division standings thanks to their 2-0 victory at home to Granada on Sunday.
Mario Mandzukic gave Atleti the lead from the penalty spot in the 34th minute, after Abdoul Sissoko fouled Diego Godin in the box, before Raul Garcia headed in the second with less than two minutes remaining to seal the win.
The result means Diego Simeone’s men leapfrog Valencia and are now four points adrift of league leaders Real Madrid, who returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory at Getafe on Saturday.
In contrast to Atletico’s push for the top, Granada remain rock bottom of the overall standings after the defeat, two points adrift of Almeria in 17th place.
Fernando Torres, who rejoined the club from AC Milan earlier this month, was caught offside twice in the opening minutes as the home side looked to take the attack to struggling Granada.
Granada striker Robert had a good effort blocked by Atleti defender Jose Gimenez in the 26th minute before midfielder Manuel Iturra forced the first real save of the match from Atletico goalkeeper Miguel Moya shortly after.
It was the home side, though, who took the lead when Mandzukic converted from the penalty spot.
Sissoko brought down Godin and Croatia international Mandzukic fired into the top right of goal to give Los Rojiblancos the lead.
Arda Turan had a good chance to put Atleti further ahead four minutes later but his drilled strike was kept out by Granada defender Jean Babin.
Atletico went in at the break 1-0 up and they had the better of the chances in the second half too, with Mandzukic heading over from 12 yards shortly after the hour mark.
Antoine Griezmann forced a fantastic save from Granada keeper Olazabal Oier in the 70th minute and Koke put a chance over the bar from 18 yards out five minutes later.
Another goal appeared to be coming for the home side, and it was substitute Garcia who found the net in the 88th minute from close range, less than five minutes after he came on from the bench.
There was no time for Granada to alter the result and they extended their winless run of games in the Primera Division to 15.