Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid celebrated being awarded the honour of hosting the Champions League final in 2019 with an impressive 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday to move up to second in La Liga.
Angel Correa opened the scoring 10 minutes into the second-half by finishing off a flowing move involving Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez.
And Yannick Carrasco secured the three points with an angled finish from another Griezmann through ball 17 minutes from time before Raul Garcia netted a late consolation for the hosts.
Atletico closed to within four points of leaders Barcelona, but could be surpassed by Sevilla and Real Madrid who host Las Palmas and Real Betis respectively later on Wednesday.
UEFA awarded their showpiece event for next season to Atletico’s new Wanda Metropolitano earlier in the day.
And the feel-good factor around Atletico following their 1-0 victory over Malaga to open their new 68,000 capacity home at the weekend continued with a commanding display in their fifth away trip in six games so far this season.
The visitors needed to rely on a brilliant penalty save from Jan Oblak to go in level at half-time.
The Slovenian stopper leapt low to his right to deny Aritz Aduriz after Filipe Luis had been extremely harshly penalised for a challenge on Garcia outside the box.
At the other end Atletico had the killer touch they lacked in stalemates at Valencia and Roma in their Champions League opener last week.
Correa was left with the simplest of finishes to roll into an empty net after Saul unselfishly squared from Griezmann’s through ball to open the scoring.
Griezmann then had a goal ruled out for offside and strong penalty appeals himself waived away.
But despite failing to get on the scoresheet, the French international was decisive with another killer pass for substitute Carrasco to fire just inside the far corner.
Oblak made another fine save to deny Iker Muniain, although the Slovenian was finally beaten when Garcia scored against his former side in stoppage time.
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