Alvaro Morata opened his account for Atletico Madrid as Los Colchoneros defeated Villarreal 2-0 on Sunday afternoon.
The hosts initially found it difficult to break down a deep lying Villarreal defence, but they took the lead just after the half-hour mark through Morata. The Chelsea loanee found some space in the 18-yard box before latching on to a dangerous cross from Filipe Luis with a sweeping finish into the bottom right corner.
After an evenly contested second half, Atletico sealed the three points right at the death through Saul. The midfielder scooped the ball over Sergio Asenjo and Victor Luis inexplicably opted not to clear the ball off the line, leaving it to slowly drop into the net.
Check out the full breakdown of the match below.
Key Talking Point
They did exactly what they had to do in this one and, despite conceding a fair few chances to Villarreal in the second half, they never really looked like giving up their lead. Diego Simeone may be frustrated that his side weren't able to put the tie to bed sooner, but the result is all that matters in the grand scheme of things.
Barcelona have proven that they are far from infallible this season and, whilst seven points is a massive deficit to overcome, Atletico are far from out of the title race just yet.
Starting XI: Oblak (7), Arias (6), Gimenez (6), Savic (6), Luis (7); Koke (6), Saul (6), Rodri (6), Lemar (7); Griezmann (7), Morata (7*).
Substitutes: Costa (5), Thomas (6), Vitolo (N/A).
STAR MAN - Luck certainly hasn't been on Alvaro Morata's side since he joined Atletico in the January transfer window, but he was finally able to open his account for Los Colchoneros - without any interference from VAR this time around.
His performance was notable not just for his goal, but also for his dynamic movement and impressive hold up play in the final third. Chelsea supporters may be wondering where on earth it went wrong at Stamford Bridge.
Morata actually been really good since joining Atletico, winning over a lot of those who doubted he would be able to settle well / quickly [ahem]— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) February 24, 2019
He's done it!!!! MORATA SCORES FOR ATLETICO!! No VAR. No offside. No foul. He looks to sky in joy/thanks/disbelief. Atletico 1-0 up.— The Spanish Football Podcast (@tsf_podcast) February 24, 2019
Starting XI: Asenjo (7); Gonzalez (6), Funes (5), Ruis (5); Mario (5), Iborra (6), Caseres (5), Cazorla (6), Alfonso (5); Toko Ekambi (5), Bacca (6).
Substitutes: Chukwueze (5), Gerard (6), Fornals (5).
Atletico now have a week to prepare for their trip to face Real Sociedad in La Liga next Sunday, whilst Villarreal host Alaves on Saturday.