Atletico Madrid returned to within seven points of Barcelona at the top of La Liga with an ultimately comfortable victory over Athletic Bilbao at the Wanda Metropolitano.

By 90Min
February 18, 2018

Atletico Madrid returned to within seven points of Barcelona at the top of La Liga with an ultimately comfortable victory over Athletic Bilbao at the Wanda Metropolitano.

The home side were frustrated by their opposition for large parts of the game, but substitute Kevin Gameiro's second-half goal gave them the lead before Diego Costa added another with ten minutes remaining.

There was no way back for Athletic and the the hosts secured a fourth successive league win, a run of form which has kept alive hopes of a title challenge.

Atletico began the game in the ascendancy, probing for an early goal. But opportunities in the opening stages were scarce and the visitors proved adequately compact in defence.

Defender Jose Maria Gimenez came the closest to opening the scoring with 14 minutes played when he flashed an acrobatic effort across goal from an Antoine Griezmann free-kick.

Moments later, a typically demonstrative Costa saw vehement appeals for a penalty turned down after he appeared to have been brought down in the box.

Atletico continued to search for a breakthrough as the half progressed but there was a distinct lack of creativity on show and Athletic dealt relatively comfortably with their sporadic attacks.

Diego Simeone's side had a spell of pressure in the latter stages of the first-half - and another penalty appeal turned down - but the away side remained untroubled.

A similar pattern continued after the break, although Costa forced a first save of note from Kepa with a well-struck volley. And just before the hour mark, growing increasingly frustrated, the former Chelsea man headed over from a Filipe Luis cross.

There were, though, some encouraging signs. Atletico were beginning to find more space in attacking areas and with 67 minutes played they were in front. The ball was worked expertly across the box to substitute Gameiro, who planted his finish firmly into the bottom corner.

Athletic's confidence was noticeably dented by falling behind, and the game was beyond them by the 80th minute. Costa, who had been dangerous throughout, raced clean through and finished emphatically at the near post.

There was no way back into the game for an increasingly tired Athletic side, who stayed in 14th with defeat. Atletico, meanwhile, kept pace with Barcelona ahead of next weekend's trip to Sevilla.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)