Atletico reclaim top of La Liga with victory over Celta Vigo
Antoine Griezmann broke a dour, scoreless game open early in the second half, then Yannick Ferreira Carrasco got a second eleven minutes from time as Atletico Madrid regained the top spot in La Liga with a workmanlike 2-0 triumph over Celta Vigo Sunday night.
Atletico again moved two points ahead of Barcelona, who have a match in hand, after their quicksilver striker got on the end of a fine play begun by Koke and their super sub applied the finishing touch. Real Madrid remain third after all of the leaders captured maximum points on the weekend.
Celta remained in fifth place and in a European spot for next season, but they were losers for a third straight game after previously falling to Malaga and Athletic Bilbao and need to find another gear if they are stay in the top end of the table. Atletico stretched its win streak to three after another game where their defensive prowess was smothering and their attack was just incisive enough to secure the three points on a wet night in Vigo.
Griezmann scored four minutes into the second half when he finished a three-pass movement and had the whole right side of the net to pick. Koke began it with a piercing pass through the box from a central position, sending Luciano Vietto beyond the last line of defense. Vietto's cross was perfect, away from keeper Sergio Alvarez and right where Griezmann could collect and finish.
Carrasco put the result beyond doubt with a weaving run down the inside left channel, passing a final defender before unleashing a shot to the top left corner in the 80th minute.
As always, the well-organized Atletico defense was keeping close tabs on Celta's front runners and preventing attacks from developing inside the box. Celta's pace was never fast enough to truly worry keeper Jan Oblak or his array of defenders.
While Atletico did not make a host of openings they were always settled in midfield, comfortable in possession and dangerous on counters from their own half. Carrasco, who came on in the 53rd minute for Augusto Fernandez, gave them an extra dimension that ultimately proved the game clincher.