Fernando Torres scored the only goal as Atletico Madrid ran out 1-0 winners with a comfortable display at city rivals Getafe in La Liga on Sunday, keeping the pressure on leaders Barcelona.
Torres converted for the 100th time in an Atletico shirt in the 3-1 win at home to Eibar last weekend and earned his team three valuable points at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, scoring in consecutive club matches for the first time since October 2013.
The striker’s future at the club may be shrouded in uncertainty, but he took less than two minutes to get off the mark, smashing beyond Getafe goalkeeper Vicente Guaita after a brilliant delivery from Yannick Ferreira Carrasco.
Diego Simeone’s side looked content to protect their lead, with the hosts finding it difficult to break down a defensive unit boosted by the returns of Diego Godin, Juanfran and Filipe Luis from suspension.
The Getafe faithful booed referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz off at half-time after he refused to award their team a penalty for Gabi’s tackle on Victor Rodriguez and they never looked like beating Jan Oblak in the visiting goal.
Atletico comfortably saw out the second half for a second straight win to temporarily move level with Barcelona, though an ankle injury for Carrasco soon after the restart provided a sour note.
The visitors got off to ab excellent start, racing ahead in the second minute when Carrasco teased a cross to the back post for Torres to fire into the roof of the net.
Getafe responded positively and a neat move down the right culminated in Pablo Sarabia testing Oblak with a low strike from just inside the box, though it was heading wide.
Simeone’s side were happy to afford the hosts the majority of possession and play on the counter-attack, continuing to put their defence under pressure.
Torres skewed wide in a one-on-one situation after latching onto a lofted throughball from Gabi, before Carrasco forced a save from Guaita in the 15th minute.
Getafe were unable to find a route through Atletico’s stern defence, the visitors dealing comfortably with any crosses into the box.
Fran Escriba’s team felt they should have had a penalty when Gabi caught Victor Rodriguez from behind five minutes before the interval, but the referee was unmoved.
Atletico lost Carrasco to injury early in the second half when he fell awkwardly on his ankle after blocking Damian Suarez’s cross – the club confirming during the match he sprained ankle ligaments.
Koke, involved in five of the visitors’ previous six goals before kick-off, was unable to improve that record with a tame strike straight at Guaita before the hour mark.
Santiago Vergini volleyed wide from Victor Rodriguez’s clipped delivery in the 65th minute, but, despite continuing to see more of the ball, they were unable to test Oblak before the final whistle.
Atletico had a chance to score a second after a swift stoppage-time break, but substitute Angel Correa was unable to find the unmarked Saul Niguez, sending what should have been a simple pass straight to Juan Rodriguez, who cleared behind.
Key Opta stats:
– Diego Simeone has won more La Liga games against Getafe than any other side as Atletico head coach (8).
– Fernando Torres has scored five goals in his last six appearances against Getafe in La Liga.
– Yannick Carrasco produced his fourth assist for Atletico and his first one in La Liga.
– Torres has scored the fastest goal conceded by Getafe in La Liga this season (1 minute and 2 seconds).
– Atletico did not concede a single shot on target in a La Liga away game for the first time this season.
– Fran Escriba has lost all of his six league games as a head coach against Atletico and his teams have never scored against them.