Two goals from Antoine Griezmann gave Atletico Madrid a battling 2-0 victory over Getafe at the Vicente Calderon in La Liga on Tuesday.
The Frenchman’s two strikes from close range – his fourth and fifth goals of the season in all competitions – proved decisive as the home side made it four victories from five league games to pull level on points with leaders Barcelona.
Getafe, who suffered their fourth defeat from the same number of matches, could have equalised in the second half, but will rue a poor miss from Pedro Leon.
Diego Simeone made six changes to his starting line-up following Saturday’s win over Eibar, with Fernando Torres, who scored in that game, and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco among the players brought in.
The breakthrough came after just four minutes. Vicente Guaita punched clear a corner and Gabi fired back into the box, where Griezmann controlled, swivelled and converted from six yards out.
Ferreira Carrasco shot just wide of the post from distance, while Angel Lafita worked Jan Oblak with a powerful long-range effort in a first half that saw three bookings and little goalmouth action.
Atletico almost gifted Getafe a route back into the match shortly before half-time. A dreadful square free-kick from Oliver Torres was played straight to Stefan Scepovic, who raced through on goal and should have done better with his effort that Oblak parried to safety.
Angel Correa – another of the weekend goalscorers for Atletico – came on at half-time – while Jackson Martinez was also introduced early in the second half as he replaced Fernando Torres.
The visitors had another brilliant opportunity to draw level on the hour mark. Victor Rodriguez slipped a pass through for Leon, but the former Real Madrid winger missed the target with only Oblak to beat.
Atletico were only creating half chances at the other end, although Martinez should have done better with a presentable header from Gabi’s cross that he diverted well wide.
The home side began to increase the pressure as they searched for a second goal to kill off Getafe and Correa cut inside before forcing Guaita into a low stop.
Atletico did double their lead in the final minute. Substitute Tiago chipped a clever pass through to Martinez, who squared for Griezmann to apply a simple finish.