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Deportivo La Coruña
18 April 2014
• Estadio Vicente Calderón, Madrid
Referee: Carlos Clos Gomez
• Attendance: 48782
Diego Costa 90'+
That's it from me, bye for now.
Atletico had to work hard and wait long for it, but they've taken the points in the end, and deservedly so. Miranda and Costa from the spot did the business, and los Rojiblancos take a provisional SIX point lead at the top of the table!
90' + 2'
90' + 1'
Penalty Goal Diego Costa
COSTA BURIES IT! No mistake for the Brazilian and Atletico have wrapped it up now!
Yellow/Red C. Săpunaru
Sapunaru concedes his second spot kick of the game, he;'s had a nightmare evening. To complete his misery, the referee shows him his second yellow card and he's off! Costa was the man pulled to the ground and he's the one who takes the spot kick...
COSTA! He could have wrapped it all up there, but after breaking past the defensive line on the counter, he cannot beat Herrera with his finish! Good stop by the keeper!
Another set piece chance for the visitors to snatch a late equaliser, but they cannot get it onto the head of their intended target Botia. And the home side breathe again...
Atletico have ceded possession to the visitors in the closing stages here, as they are quite happy to ride out Miranda's lone goal all the way to the final whistle. Not long left now.
Atletico are denied an opening for a counter attack, as Sapunaru brings down Costa in an attempt to battle for a high ball from Luis. Looked like a free kick from here, but to the chagrin of the home fans, the referee allows play to continue.
Elche continue to cause danger from set pieces late on, and again, their is panic at the back for the home side when Sanchez swings a ball in. They manage to clear on this occasion though.
Another opportunity for the visiting side as Botia leaps to meet Sanchez's inswinging cross but despite getting a good header on it, he plants it wide of the post! Atletico survive again, and Simeone would not like these last few late wobbles.
Finally we have something in the way of a response from Elche, as Sanchez rises highest inside the box to meet a corner, but his header is right at Courtois, to the relief of the home fans.
HUGE goal for Atletico now, who now look set to avoid a potential banana skin after finally piercing the resistance of Elche in this second half. It's a deserved opener too - the home side have been far and away the better team since the interval.
Yellow Card Raúl García
Assist José Sosa
MIRANDA HAS DONE IT! BREAKTHROUGH! Sosa the substitute whips in a great corner, and it's an even better header from Miranda to guide home the opener and lift the roof off this stadium!
Diego then decides to take matters into his own hands with a rasping drive from the edge of the area, but it's not near the target, Disappointing in the end.
Botia does excellently to put Costa off a header at the last moment, after a raking ball from Diego put his compatriot in position to strike!
Yellow Card Pelegrín
Now Pelegrin is the latest man to be carded, taking out Costa with a late challenge. Little complaint here.
Yellow Card Diego Costa
Yellow Card Rivera
Surprisingly, it's neither player who makes their way onto the pitch, as Jose Sosa comes on for Atletico, with Villa, who has had a terrible evening, going off. He missed a penalty and a golden chance from point blank range. Not a game he will remember.
Signs of the final change in the offing from Simeone, as Cristian Rodriguez and Mario Suarez are spotted warming up on the sidelines. No indication yet of a change from Fran Escriba.
It looks increasingly like one goal will do it here at the Vicente Calderon. There has been little sign of the attacking endeavour that was so prevalent in Elche's first half efforts. Atletico are edging closer and closer to that all important goal.
Second sub of the game from SImeone, as Koke is swapped out for Diego. The Brazilian provides some more flair and end product in the final third, at the expense of the defensive work and more measured passing of the now departed Koke.
Atletico have the ball in the back of the net but it's disallowed! Luis' flicked header is turned home by Villa from close rang,e but the assistant's flag is up and replays suggest that the former Barca forward was narrowly offside.
Booking here for Elche, their second of the game. It's a deserved one too, as Coro goes in with his studs showing on Garcia, and is immediately pulled up and cautioned by the referee.
Yellow Card Coro
To their credit, Los Colocheres do not look dejected by that miss. Filipe Luis has been set down the left flank on the overlap, and his cross is narrowly headed away from the lurking Garcia. It's starting to turn into one way traffic squarely in the direction of Herrera's goal.
Well, two penalties missed for Atletico in their last two games. It didn't cost them last time out against Getafe, but will Villa and Co. rue that miss? It was a great chance but what a poor penalty. The somewhat good news for Atletico is that Costa has almost always scored after his side have missed a penalty in a match this season.
Yellow Card C. Săpunaru
Penalty save Manu Herrera
SAVED BY HERRERA! Costa, who missed last time out against Getafe, takes a backseat to Villa, but the striker's spot kick is rather poor and weak. Take nothing away from Herrera though, who guessed right and parried!
Missed Penalty David Villa
A high, hanging ball from Filipe is aimed towards Raul Garcia, and the substitute is barged in the back by Sapunaru, who is booked. Replays suggest it was a close call, but Atletico have a chance...
PENALTY TO ATLETICO MADRID!
OOH, just too strong for Gabi. He made a beautiful diagonal run to the far post, and he was spotted by Villa. However, the former Barcelona man fails to find his captain with his attempted pass, putting too much mustard on it and seeing it roll over the byeline for a goalkick.
Early corner won in the second half for the home side thanks to the determination of Raul Garcia. It's glanced on from the near post to the centre of the box, and Elche have to scramble to clear it away! Garcia is the man who wins the header at the near post too, already making an impact.
Here we go again. One substitution to note at the beginning of the second half. On comes Raul Garcia, to provide some more spark in the attacking third for the hosts. Off goes Adrian, who, after creating that early chance for Costa, rather faded to the periphery of the game.
It's been a real back and forth game, as both sides have genuine claims to being ahead. In fact, Elche have had the clearer openings, and have done exceptionally well to frustrate the home side for spells. Madrid and Barca will be watching this with bated breath, can Elche pull off a major shock? Second half is just around the corner, so stay tuned.
45' + 1'
That's it for the first half.
The fans are back n full voice and song now, with that last pair of chances reminding them that their team are still capable of causing danger, after a long period of pressure. On the basis of their chances, they would do well to get some crosses into the box aimed at Diego Costa.
The crowd are starting to come around again as Atletico come within inches of converting two crosses flashed across the six yard area. The second one particularly is a GOLDEN chance, as Costa flicks Juanfran's cross into the path of Villa from point blank range, but the veteran striker misses the target!
Some better play on offer from Atletico in the attacking third, but still, there appears to be no route into more clear goalscoring opportunities. It looks like a long season with a relatively small squad is starting to catch up with the Rojiblancos, as they look to be a step slower than the visitors.
Elche have not won away from home in their last nine league games, losing seven of their encounters during that spell. But any suggestion that this game would be an easy three points for Atletico have been thrown out the window. Simeone and his team have A LOT of work to do to claim the points from the spirited visitors.
The only two teams ever to keep a clean sheet against Atletico at the Vicente Calderon are the only two teams who have been on their level this season - Barcelona and Real Madrid. The Blaugrana managed it in the league, while Carlo Ancelotti's team shit them out in the Copa del Rey. Elche are just over a third of the way there.
Atletico are under some serious pressure at the moment, and in fact haven't left their own half with the ball in the past five minutes or so. First signs of impatience in the stands as some whistles and jeers are heard, coinciding with every botched attempt to wrest possession back from the visitors.
Courtois is left fuming again as Elche carve their way into the box again. Coro weights a perfect pass between the fullback and centre back for Gil to run on to. He has a lot of goal to aim at, Gil, but he leans back way too much and sidefoots the ball far over the top.
End to end stuff in the past few minutes, and the visitors are gaining some real confidence in attack thanks to forcing Courtois into two quickfire saves five or so minutes ago. That's what us neutrals want to see!
ATLETICO NEARLY HIT BACK! It's a chance down at the other end of the pitch now, as Filipe drifts infield to latch onto a pass from Koke, but despite having space to aim at the target, he slices a rather rushed attempt wide of the post.
ANOTHER SAVE! The resulting corner from the visitors is met by a header from Suarez, but it's within the zone of Courtois, who parries at his near post! He smothers the rebound before anyone else can get to it to complete another splendid stop.
SAVE FROM COURTOIS! Marquez lashes a good strike towards the bottom corner from about 25 yards out, but the big Belgian keeper spreads himself to tip it around the post for a corner. And Courtois is furious with his defence for allowing Marquez that space to shoot!
Just past the midway point of the first half of this game between league leaders Atletico Madrid and Elche. Including this game, Simeone's side have five matches remaining in the league. They also host Malaga and visit Valencia and Levante before squaring off against Barca at Camp Nou in the season finale.
Elche continue to enjoy most of the possession in the most recent spells of the game. But they nearly throw it all away when Costa is barged off the ball by a defender, and is perhaps lucky not to concede a penalty given that it was just inside the penalty area and both players were not within playing distance of the ball!
Atletico are playing patiently at the moment, trying to draw the white shirts forward into their own half. The Rojiblancos have hit teams on the counter time and time again this season, it's become something of a trademark. Elche would be wise to watch the movement of Villa, Costa and Adrian behind the defensive line.
This is Elche's 20th visit to the Vicente Calderon, and they've only ever avoided coming away with something other than a loss three times in their history. The last of those results, incidentally, took place over 40 seasons ago. And on the basis of form and the action on the pitch so far, I don't see that record changing any time soon.
Elche have a chance to cause some danger at the other end when they win a corner. It swings through to the other side via a deflection off an Atletico head, so the visitors try again. But Sanchez is disappointing from the second delivery, playing it right within the grasp of Courtois.
Atletico are increasingly starting to assert their dominance as the first half wears on. They've pulled off a few slick moves in the attacking third to create chances already, and look rejuvenated with Costa leading the line once again.
Smooth goalkeeping from Herrera sees him position himself well at the near post to smother a long range shot from Gabi. The Atletico skipper has cracked in one or two goals from distance this season, most notably in the Derbi vs Real Madrid.
Atletico have fashioned two chances for their star striker already, but that's not to discount how Elche have began this game. The visitors have looked confident going forward, and especially capable in the midfield.
COSTA AGAIN! Atletico counter at rapid pace, as we've seen so many times this season. Villa spins a pass in the direction of Costa, who pulls from the last defender, but Herrera is out to smother the ball just before he can pull the trigger.
A flowing attack from the home sides, roared on by their support, sees Adrian maneuver into space just on the edge of the box, before teeing up Costa for a shot, but the Brazilian smacks the ball into the side netting.
Villa nearly pressures Herrera into a mistake in his own box, but the keeper pulls off a composed pivot to put himself in a position to maintain possession. A decent start to the tempo of this game.
You really can't downplay just how good Atletico have been under Simeone. They've won 14 of 17 at home in the league, and are set to face off against Chelsea in the Champions League semi finals, after disposing of title rivals Barcelona in the previous round. They've been particularly impossible to beat at the Vicente Calderon.
The last meeting between these two sides ended in a 2-0 win for Atletico earlier this season, in the opposite league fixture. Really, it's going to be a major plus for Elche if they get anything from this game. And a MAJOR setback for Atletico. It's La Liga's lowest scoring side with one of the worst away records in the division visiting the team with the meanest defence, who are also the only side to remain undefeated at home.
Elche have a tenuous four point cushion between themselves and the relegation zone, but it's going to be a tough ask for them inside the Vicente Calderon. They have only one once in their last five games, and lost to Valencia during the last gameweek.
Atletico are making an unbelievably strong finish to both the domestic and European season. Los Colocheres have not lost in their last 11 games, and have a chance to open up a provisional six point gap at the top of the league should they do what's expected and take the spoils tonight.
Elche meanwhile spring no shocks with their own XI. Cristian Herrera will plow a lone furrow up front for the visitors, with his namesake Manu taking his usual spot between the posts. Carles Gil and Coro will support Herrera in the attacking third.
So that gruesome shin injury suffered by Diego Costa against Getafe last time out turned out to be only a contact wound. The Brazilian is back in business leading the line for the home side tonight. Arda Turan is still not ready for a start, so forgotten man Adrian Lopez takes a spot in the XI.
ELCHE (4-5-1): Manu Herrera; Damián, Pelegrín, Botía, Sapunaru; Sánchez, Rivera, Javi Márquez, Coro, Carles Gil; Cristian Herrera.
ATLETICO MADRID (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe; Tiago, Gabi; Koke, Adrián, Villa; Costa.
Hello and welcome to this weekend's early La Liga fixture, as table-toppers Atletico Madrid host Elche at the Vicente Calderon. I'm Keeghann Sinanan, your guide for all the action.
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