Atletico Madrid kept their noses ahead of city rivals Real with a routine 2-0 Liga victory at struggling Granada on Saturday.
Having seen Rafael Benitez’s men pick up a 4-1 derby victory over Getafe earlier in the day, Atleti re-established their two-point advantage in second place thanks to goals from Diego Godin and Antoine Griezmann.
The visitors had dominated the early stages and fully deserved to go ahead through a Godin header after 20 minutes, with Fernando Torres and Koke having both squandered earlier chances to open the scoring.
Torres wasted another chance to score his 100th Atleti goal – a milestone he has been chasing since mid-September – as the visitors struggled to put the game to bed, but Griezmann eventually wrapped up the three points 14 minutes from time.
The result represents Atleti’s sixth win in a row in all competitions, while they have now not been beaten in 12 matches.
Granada, meanwhile, remain fourth from bottom, a point clear of the relegation zone.
Diego Simeone made three changes to the side that beat Espanyol last time out in the top flight and Torres – one of those to come into the starting XI – had the first opportunity to break the deadlock.
The former Liverpool and Chelsea striker failed to get on the end of a teasing ball into the six-yard box from Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, before Koke saw a weak shot from the edge of the box held by goalkeeper Andres Fernandez.
Despite those two missed opportunities, Atleti were in control and capitalised on some abysmal Granada defending to go ahead.
Completely unmarked, Godin moved into space on the edge of the six-yard box to meet Koke’s corner and bury a powerful header.
Godin subsequently raced to the touchline to hold aloft a shirt in tribute to team-mate Tiago, who has been ruled out for at least three months after breaking his leg against Espanyol.
Adalberto Penaranda snatched at Granada’s first chance to trouble Jan Oblak, firing into the side-netting eight minutes from the break, before Filipe Luis fired over for Atleti at the beginning of the second half.
Granada certainly enjoyed more of the ball after the interval and Isaac Success drew a save from Oblak with a cross-cum-shot in the 61st minute.
Torres created some space for himself only to be denied by Fernandez midway through the second half, but Griezmann’s 76th-minute strike made sure of the win.
Having been picked out at the back post, the France international composed himself before firing into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
Key Opta stats:
– Diego Godín has scored more headers than any other defender in the top five European leagues since 2013-14 (8).
– Jan Oblak has kept clean sheets in his last four games in La Liga, his longest run in the competition.
– Atletico Madrid have won seven of their eight league games against Granada under Diego Simeone.
– Atletico have kept clean sheets in eight of their last nine meetings with Granada in La Liga.
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