Atletico Madrid moved level on points with La Liga leaders Barcelona after a hard fought 3-2 victory against Real Valladolid.
The away side took the lead after 25 minutes, thanks in large part to the vision of star man Antoine Griezmann. Atleti won the ball in the middle of the park and broke quickly, Griezmann found himself 30 yards from goal and slid a smart pass into Nikola Kalinic who cooly finished past Jordi Masip.
Atleti's goal appeared to kick Valladolid into life, and the home side spurned two chances before half time with Enes Unal firing the closer of the two just wide of the post after some smart work down the left hand side.
VAR controversy struck right on half time. A fluid move down the right from Atletico led to a cut back which found Antoine Griezmann on the edge of the area with all the time in the world. The Frenchman took aim, but his effort was saved superbly by Masip.
However referee Alberto Mallenco received the call in his ear to check the VAR screen, and replays showed that Griezmann's shot had been deflected off a Valladolid arm. A penalty was awarded and Griezmann made no mistake from the spot to make it 2-0 at half time.
The home side got a goal back just before the hour mark, when a corner was whipped in and met by Fernando Calero – whose header was too strong for a combination of Oblak and Santiago Arias.
They were on level terms just five minutes later and once again it came from a corner. This one was delivered deep to the back post where Unal was waiting to nod the ball back across goal, unfortunately for Saul Niguez the ball struck him and ended up in the back of the net.
Valladolid undid all their hard work with just 10 minutes to go – and somewhat poetically, the goal came from an Atletico corner. The home side failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to the clinical Griezmann, who fired past Masip and into the far corner.
Key Talking Point
After going two down, you could be forgiven for thinking Valladolid would accept their fate and succumb to the bigger side.
The home side did no such thing however, and after conceding the second just before half time they dominated proceedings, they showed great heart to fight back to within 10 minutes of a precious point.
Starting XI: Masip (7); Antonito (6), Olivas (6), Calero (7), Martinez (5); Keko (5), Herrero (6), Alcaraz (6), Villa (5); Plano (6), Unal (7*).
Substitutes: Suarez (N/A), Verde (N/A), Borja (N/A).
Key Talking Point
With Barcelona not in action for another 24 hours, this was a chance for Atletico to make up some ground and put the pressure on the Catalans.
It may not have been plain sailing in the second half, but in typical Simeone fashion Atleti ground out a result that could be crucial come the end of the season.
Starting XI: Oblak (6); Arias (6), Savic (5), Godin (5), Filipe Luis (6); Correa (6), Koke (6), Rodri (6), Saul (6); Kalinic (6), Griezmann (8*).
Substitutes: Partey (N/A), Vitolo (N/A), Martins (N/A).
STAR MAN - Antoine Griezmann
The Frenchman was once again the difference maker when Atleti needed him.
WORST PLAYER - Stefan Savic
The centre back looked uneasy for the majority of the match and was fortunate that he was partnered by Diego Godin.
Both of Valladolid's goals came from corners that should've been dealt with, and the defender was fortunate not to score an own goal.
Valladolid now face a trip to Athletic Bilbao before the winter break and Atletico will host Espanyol.