Atletico Madrid suffered their fourth successive LaLiga defeat as Granada came from behind to defeat the reigning champions 2-1.
Joao Felix put Diego Simeone’s side ahead after just two minutes at Nuevo Los Carmenes, but it was another outing to forget for the visitors.
Atletico were pegged back 15 minutes later by Darwin Machis’ wonderful individual effort, while the in-form Jorge Molina completed the turnaround just after the hour mark.
That gave Granada their first ever win over Atletico, while stretching their unbeaten run to five matches.
Tonight’s game in Granada somehow ends in defeat. pic.twitter.com/tfKPxD3hZH
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) December 22, 2021
Seeking a fourth straight victory in this fixture, Simeone’s men made an excellent start in Andalusia.
Joao Felix received the ball just inside the hosts’ half and skipped away from German Sanchez and Raul Torrente, before pulling a low drive beyond the reach of Luis Maximiano for only his second league goal of the season.
However, Granada responded well and equalised in emphatic fashion. Picking up the ball on the left wing after a sweeping move, Marchis cut inside before bending a stunning 25-yard effort into the far corner.
That means the visitors have now failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 14 matches away from Wanda Metropolitano.
Joao Felix thought he had put Atletico back in front just before the break, but his header was chalked off for an alleged foul in the build-up.
The Portugal international then saw a vicious 20-yard drive crash against the post on the hour mark before Granada forged ahead from the subsequent counter-attack.
Molina was unmarked to turn home Colombian Luis Suarez’s centre and, although the finish was initially ruled out for offside, the striker was eventually awarded his fifth goal in three games following a consultation with VAR.
Substitutes Angel Correa and Matheus Cunha squandered great chances late on for Atletico, who slipped to yet another defeat.
What does it mean? Atletico’s struggles continue
Just seven months after capturing the LaLiga title, Atletico remain 14 points behind rivals and leaders Real Madrid heading into the seasonal break.
That margin could be increased to 17 should Los Blancos defeat Athletic Bilbao later on Wednesday.
As for Granada, their impressive form continues as they move seven points clear of the relegation zone and up to 12th place.
Molina with the Midas touch
Granada’s talisman just cannot stop scoring goals at the moment.
Fresh from his hat-trick against Real Mallorca on Sunday, Molina also made a telling contribution in this game; netting his eighth goal in seven matches.
His tallies of 32 touches and 21 passes were the second-lowest recorded by any starting player for the hosts, but his one goal from two shots on target is the statistic that truly matters.
Bittersweet for Joao Felix
The Portugal international made a great start to what was only his fifth start in LaLiga this season, scoring his second goal.
However, he will be disappointed not to have built on that after registering a game-high tally of six shots on goal.
His total of three offsides was also the highest recorded by any player, and is something he must certainly look to address.
Following a poor end to 2021, Atletico will look to get back on track when they host Rayo Vallecano on January 2 – the same day that Granada aim to maintain their solid form away at Elche.
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