Atletico 3-1victors over Espanyol
Atletico Madrid emerged 3-1 victors over Espanyol at the Vicente Calderon in the battle for the European places, taking Diego Simeone’s men up to seventh.
Uruguayan defender Diego Godin headed the hosts in front from Diego’s corner after nine minutes, only for Didac Vila to reply for Espanyol 10 minutes later with a superb finish that went in off the underside of the bar. However, two goals in two minutes around the hour mark from Arda Turan put Atletico back in front, the Turkish international midfielder scoring with an acrobatic scissors kick before cutting past two defenders to beat Cristian Alvarez at the near post for his second.
Boss Simeone was full of praise for Turan and the supporters at the post-match Press conference.
“Arda was fantastic in the second half and was what we were crying out for in front of goal,” declared the Argentine. “But the noise the fans made was tremendous and they responded to what the team was doing on the pitch. They understand that the players are giving everything.
“But we have an important game to play on Thursday (against Valencia) and we can’t stop to think about this or enjoy it. There is no time as now we just have to rest, eat and work.”
Espanyol are now down to 10th and seeing their European chances slip away unless there is a dramatic improvement in the remaining games, and Coach Mauricio Pochettino recognises his players will need to show some fight if they are to climb back up the table.
“I can’t criticise my team because we now have four cup finals left in which to achieve our objectives,” said the Argentine. “After their first goal we came back and played well, but two quick goals changed everything.
“We will carry on fighting and working right up to the last minute because you never know,” he added.
Atletico Madrid 3-1 Espanyol
Scorers: Godin 9, Turan 59,61 (ATL), Vila 19 (ESP)
Atletico Madrid: Courtois; Juanfran, Godin, Dominguez, Filipe; Gabi (Mario 46), Tiago; Salvio, Diego (Adrian 73), Turan (Koke 79); Falcao.
Espanyol: Cristian Alvarez; Javi Lopez, Raul Rodriguez, Hector Moreno, Didac; Baena (Alvaro71), Romaric (C. Gomez 46); Sergio Garcia, Verdu, Coutinho; Uche (Pandiani 82).
Referee: Clos Gomez