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Deportivo La Coruña
March 26, 2014
• 5:00 PM
• Estadio Vicente Calderón, Madrid
Referee: Juan Martínez Munuera
• Attendance: 41200
Diego Costa 63'
That's all that we have time for from Atletico's narrow 1-0 win over Granada in Estadio Vicente Calderon, a result which puts Diego Simeone's men clear at the summit of La Liga. I've been Simon Harrison and the Spanish top flight's title race couldn't be much more enthralling!
Granada gave a good account of themselves, working hard and looking solid for long periods, but paid for their poor marking of Diego Costa in the second half. It was a close game, but one which potential champions such as Atletico have to win regardless of performance.
FULL TIME! A vital, narrow win for Los Rojiblancos, with a Diego Costa goal the difference between themselves and Granada at Estadio Vicente Calderon. Tonight could be an important night of the La Liga season, with Real Madrid dropping points against Sevilla in the other late kick-off.
90' + 3'
Nyom loops a late cross into the Atletico penalty area, but Courtois is able to claim, much to the delight of the home fans. That should be it for the home side!
90' + 2'
Atletico are happy to hoof the ball long for Diego Costa to chase, with the bullish forward able to chase the passes down and harry the Granada defenders who intercept them. He's been fantastic tonight, in terms of his goal and the sheer work rate he's put in.
There are three minutes of stoppage time at the end of this second half action! The home fans whistle desperately, they want the full-time whistle now!
Brahimi wins possession deep in Atletico's half, before driving towards the byeline and into the penalty area. He beats his man, but runs the ball out of play as he attempted to cut back a square ball. The home side are getting very close to an important win.
OFFSIDE! Juanfran tries to make a run in between Foulquier and Murillo, but the right-back is caught offside, despite continuing to stroke a ball across the box for Diego Costa to slide home.
Atletico are happy to sit back and absorb some late Granada pressure, with the visitors happy to lump the ball into the box. Fatigue is perhaps taking its toll in the dying embers of the game, with both outfits working incredibly hard to try and come out on top of the midfield battle.
Diego Costa continues to lead the charge from the front, chasing down Iturra before sliding in to try and rob the Spaniard of possession. The future Spain international personifies drive, effort and desire, showing it again by chasing a lost cause before squaring a cross to nobody.
Diego Costa races through to pick up a lofted ball which bounces in behind the Granada defence, but slips over as he looks to control it. Atletico are looking solid in the late stages, but Alcaraz has thrown on a more offensive player in place of Coeff.
Godin rises well to meet a corner from Sosa, but the Uruguayan can't turn his header towards goal. Meanwhile, Diego Costa goes down under the challenge of Coeff, but the referee waves away his claims, despite Godin's complaints.
Brilliant work from Coeff yet again, as the Frenchman covers across well to dispossess Diego Costa deep inside his penalty area. He then misplaced a pass, allowing for an Atletico cross to be whipped in to Diego Ribas, but the Brazilian's close-range half volley is blocked!
Recio whips in a cross in search of El Arabi, but two clearances from Godin allow for Atletico to clear the danger. Just over ten minutes remain for Atletico to reach a very important result and their fans sound incredibly jubilant already. The title remains in their hands.
GREAT SAVE BY ROBERTO! Gabi fires another laser of an effort towards the bottom left corner, with Roberto able to watch the ball through a ruck of players before springing low to his right hand side to palm the strike away!
Huge cheers erupt around Estadio Vicente Calderon, as news filters through that Sevilla have taken the lead against Real Madrid, with Carlos Bacca finding the net once again for the hosts! This game took on all new importance, with three points potentially giving Simeone's side much-needed breathing space at the top.
Lucas Alcaraz is beginning to get a little bit agitated on the sidelines and rightly so. His side have battled well and probably don't deserve to be behind, but it's testament to Atletico's newly bred winning mentality that Simeone's men continue to find ways to pierce La Liga's defences.
Diego Costa is flagged offside as the bullish striker tried to break beyond the last man of the Granada defence and go through one-on-one with Roberto. David Villa is replaced by Raul Garcia, with the former Valencia striker having very little impact on tonight's game.
Granada try to hold onto the ball and are met with whistles from the home fans. Courtois has been a lonely figure in the Atletico goal in this second half, with the hosts seemingly on their way to an important three points. Given the visitors potency on the break, however, Atletico can't afford to be complacent.
To highlight the importance of that goal for the hosts, Real Madrid are still building held 1-1 by Sevilla away from home, with Carlos Bacca's goal handing Atletico the possibility of sitting alone at the top of La Liga. Granada aren't to be counted out of this fixture yet however, with Simeone's men needing a reassuring second goal.
The home fans are now in great voice, with Diego Costa's goals dispelling the nerves within Estadio Vicente Calderon. Granada's brilliant work has been undone by a set piece, but there was an inevitability building that Los Rojiblancos would find the net. Simeone's substitutions have to be complimented!
Assist José Sosa
Goal Diego Costa
GOOOOOOOOOAL! ATLETICO TAKE THE LEAD AGAINST GRANADA! Diego Costa has been given relative freedom at corners and he finally makes his heading ability count! He steers a near post cross into the top right hand corner, with Roberto left with no chance!
DIEGO COSTA! The Atletico striker again gets his head on a corner, but Roberto is able to make a save this time, diving on the ball before it crosses the line at the back post. There's a renewed urgency about the hosts' play, with the home fans urging them on.
Half an hour remaining but Los Rojiblancos continue to be frustrated by a spirited Granada performance. Simeone has already made two second half substitutes in an effort to try and gain the upper hand in this clash and since Rodriguez has been withdrawn the hosts have improved.
DIEGO COSTA! Atletico threaten from a corner, with Diego Costa beats Roberto to the delivery. The powerful striker can't get telling contact on the cross, however, and it flashes wide of the far post. A few fleeting glimpses of Atletico dominance are showing themselves again.
The away side are moving the ball around well and don't look pressured by playing in such a fortress tonight. Rodriguez, who has been completely nullified by Nyom all evening, is replaced by the tireless Jose Sosa.
Granada continue to have the better of the second half, with Atletico rushing into passes and giving the ball away more than would be expected. Gabi tries his luck from range and we know what he can do from 30 yards from goal, but the experienced midfielder drags his shot wide.
Great work down the left from Diego Costa! The future Spain international gets in behind Nyom, before driving into the penalty area, but Coeff matches his marker the whole way before sliding in to dispossess him. The Frenchman has been excellent this evening.
DAVID VILLA! Guaje is finally involved for the hosts, with Insua's pinpoint cross finding the head of his teammate. The header is firm but directed straight at Roberto, who pats it down and claims at the second attempt.
Granada have started the second half well, with desire and intensity that could fire them towards their first away win since December. Foulquier is involved in the opening few minutes, with the substitute getting early touches to settle himself into the pace of the game.
WHAT A CHANCE! Two chances within the space of a second for Granada! Fran Rico whips his corner delivery to the back post, with both Murillo and Recio failing to apply the finishing touch! They can't believe that they've missed!
Atletico were out on the field of play two minutes before their opposition for the evening, showing the intentions of the home side to start this second half well. Despite this, Granada break well in the early stages, with Brahimi again the catalyst. This time Juanfran makes the block to deny the Algerian winger.
We are back underway in the second half, with the next 45 minutes being very important for Los Rojiblancos! Home form is vital for any side, but when you're chasing for a La Liga title, it becomes that bit more important. Granada will have taken motivation and belief from a solid first half, leaving Atletico with a tough obstacle to overcome.
Be sure to tune back in before the second half action in ten minutes time, with Granada more than able to cause an upset at Estadio Vicente Calderon tonight. With the result of this match having big implications on the title race, staying up to speed on all of the action is a must!
Brahimi and El Arabi have had opportunities to give the away side an unlikely lead, with Atletico having a goal disallowed for a unfair Godin leap. Simeone won't be too pleased with his side's showing in the first half, with the game being very open and Los Rojiblancos failing to stay compact.
HALF TIME! It's still goalless at the break, but this game is interestingly poised for the second period of 45 minutes. Both sides have had their chances, with neither goalkeeper called into action all too often. Atletico dominated the early stages, but Granada gradually grew into proceedings.
The atmosphere is a little bit flat, as Atletico continue to labour, unable to become dominant in this match-up. Alcaraz can be very pleased with his men's performance thus far, they've looked well-organised but also dangorous on the break. David Villa squares a late cross to the back post, but Diego Costa isn't on hand to turn it home.
Yellow Card Yacine Brahimi
BRAHIMI! Great work from the left winger! He dribbles towards Juanfran at pace, before cutting inside the Spaniard, driving onto his right foot. He gets power behind his near post drive, but Courtois is able to push the ball behind for yet another Granada corner.
DIEGO COSTA! Excellent tackle from Coeff, as the French defender tracks back excellently to slide in and dispossess the powerful striker as he looked to pull the trigger. Only a few minutes before the break, that's a vital intervention, conceding then would have been a real suckerpunch.
Yellow Card Gabi
GABI! The defensive midfielder tries his luck from range, hammering a 30-yard free-kick toward goal, but it cannons into the wall and out of play for a corner. Atletico once again can't capitalise on the set piece, with Granada continuing to defend staunchly.
Yellow Card Alexandre Coeff
Coeff picks up a yellow card for the away side, as the Frenchman commits a late challenge on Diego Costa. He's a lucky man, had that tackle occurred five yards further towards the Granada net, that could well have been a red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity.
Atletico have the ball in the back of the net, but it's been ruled out! Godin nodded a free-kick delivery back across goal for Insua to turn into an unguarded net, but the Uruguayan defender was climbing on his marker! It's a great decision from the referee, as Godin was all over his man.
EL ARABI! The Granada striker takes it upon himself to have another effort at goal from a tight angle, but arrowing the ball out of play from 25 yards out. It was a great run, nutmegging Gabi along the way, but the Moroccan forward's finishing touch doesn't present itself.
The hosts certainly aren't on top or in control of this game, with a goal before the half time break potentially being key to the outcome of this game. Granada have gone from looking solid, to looking genuinely dangerous on the break. The running of Brahimi and El Arabi has caused a few problems.
Atletico win their own corner, with Granada able to scramble away the delivery, despite Diego Costa tumbling under pressure from Recio. The future Spain international goes down, but the official once again isn't interested in awarding a penalty.
EL ARABI! The lone forward's header flashes across the face of goal! The Moroccan rises brilliantly to meet Rico's corner delivery, with Coeff unable to turn home his teammate's header at the back post! The away side are right in this game with 15 minutes left until the break.
Brahimi goes down in Atletico's penalty area under the challenge of Juanfran, as the winger miscontrolled the ball with the hosts' right-back making slight contact. If that would have been given, it would have been extremely harsh on Los Rojiblancos. The referee isn't interested.
Yellow Card Brayam Angulo
Good punch from Roberto! The Granada goalkeeper rises higher than Godin to beat Gabi's free-kick delivery away from danger, as the home side continue to be frustrated. The visitors' counter-attacks are beginning to look more and more dangerous, which may give Simeone cause for concern.
Miranda almost has the home fans' hearts in their mouths, as the Brazilian defender takes a heavy touch with El Arabi nearly closes down. Not to fear, however, as the central defender skips around the Moroccan and brings the ball out from deep inside Atletico's half.
Important interception from Nyom! The Cameroonian defender cuts out an excellent crossfield ball that was looking for Rodriguez to get in behind. Brahimi then shows his clear technical ability with an excellent skilful drive down the left hand side, before Granada's best outlet is tackled.
Another promising Atletico attack comes to nothing, as a through ball is cleared well by Coeff. Insua then whips a deep cross to the far post, but Angulo is able to shepherd the ball out of play. That was a poor delivery from the Argentine and Diego Costa lets him know it.
RIKI! Granada nearly get their noses in front! After a quick break, the experienced midfielder gets to the byeline, before trying to square the ball. A good recovering challenge puts the ball behind for a corner, but Fran Rico's delivery isn't dangerous.
TURAN! THAT WAS A BIG CHANCE! The Turkey international is picked out on the edge of the penalty area in a pocket of space, after good work from Diego Costa, but balloons his first-time effort high and wide of the target!
Nyom continues to win the battle with Rodriguez on his flank, as the gangly right-back outmuscles the Uruguayan winger time and time again. Arda may begin to see more of the ball, given the difficulty Atletico are having when trying to get in behind the Cameroon international.
We have a brief break in play, as Riki goes down after challenging with Tiago in the air. He looks to have been winded, but should be fine to continue, there wasn't a great deal in the challenge. Alcaraz watches on from his technical area, his side have looked fairly solid thus far.
MIRANDA! The Brazilian central defender tries to lift an effort towards Roberto's goal from the edge of the penalty area, but loops the ball onto the roof of the net with the Granada keeper backpedalling. The home side are still struggling to click into gear offensively.
Possession continues to remain in Los Rojiblancos' hands, but Diego Costa and David Villa continue to see little of the ball. Plenty of work rate and intensity from the hosts, but neither goalkeeper has been forced into the game's first save yet.
Granada win a free-kick in an advanced area, but opt to take the dead ball short despite loading the box - with the recipient failing to whip in a decent cross. The visitors haven't been tested too much at the back, but have conceded plenty of territory to their adversaries thus far.
ARDA TURAN! Great work down the right flank from Juanfran, who delivers a great cross to the near post, but the Turkish midfielder can only turn the ball into the sprawling body of Roberto, before the rebound is bundled into the side netting.
Atletico have started this game as predicted, pressing with intensity and enjoying the majority of possession. Neither David Villa nor Diego Costa have been able to get a shot away yet, but the hosts are looking dominant and the home fans are responding with constant chanting to encourage their players forward.
Atletico are already showing their intention to remain compact and press high up the field, with El Arabi already looking rather isolated. David Villa is fed the ball on the edge of the penalty area, before turning, but his eventual shot is blocked well. El Arabi then breaks upfield, ignoring Brahimi in penalty of space on the left hand side, before the Moroccan is dispossessed.
Nyom is involved several times early on, with the physical right-back getting tight to Rodriguez from the off. A couple of scrappy clearances may have already highlighted the Granada man as a weak point and it wouldn't be surprising if Los Rojiblancos sweep the ball out to the left hand side regularly.
A free-flowing start to proceedings, with both sides enjoying some early driving runs forward. Atletico exchange possession in the midfield three, moving the ball from right to left well, before Villa's eventual through ball in search of Diego Costa is cut out by Nyom.
We're underway in the first half after a moment of reflection in light of death of Spanish political figure Adolfo Suarez. A strong side for Atletico tonight need to do what is expected of them and beat a Granada side who have recently rectified their domestic form. Away from home, however, tonight's visitors haven't picked up three points on the road since December, leaving Simeone's side the perfect opportunity to kick on and remain firmly in the title race.
Ten minutes until kick-off, so be sure to stick around for all of the action at Estadio Vicente Calderon, with La Liga starting to hot up. A win for Barcelona versus Celta Vigo earlier tonight has left tonight's hosts need a result, to ensure that they can keep some narrow breathing space between themselves and Blaugrana. These routine home games are only that need to be won during a competition that involves three top European sides scrapping to lift the league trophy.
Before any games were played today, Atletico sat at the summit of La Liga, but fixtures for both Barcelona and Real Madrid this evening make a reasonable routine game very important. Slipping up can be more of a psychological blow than a mathematical one, leaving Simeone's men the task of controlling a game against a side which they should be beating comfortably on home turf.
Granada substitutes: Karnezis, Mainz, Ighalo, Dani Benitez, Buonanotte, Foulquier, Fatau.
Granada starting line-up: Roberto; Nyom, Coeff, Murillo, Angulo; Riki, Recio, Iturra, Fran Rico, Brahimi; El Arabi.
Atletico substitutes: Aranzubia, Mario Suarez, Koke, Raul Garcia, Alderweireld, Diego, Sosa.
Atletico starting line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Insua; Gabi, Tiago; Rodriguez, Arda Turan; Diego Costa, David Villa.
TEAM NEWS: Youssef El Arabi will lead the line alone for the away side, with support hopefully given to the Moroccan forward through the capable and bright combination on Riki and Brahimi on either flank. Manuel Iturra comes into the three man Granada midfield with Recio and Fran Rico.
TEAM NEWS: Slight rotation for the hosts, as Emiliano Insua gets a run out at left-back, with Filipe Luis suspended. Tiago is in for Mario Suarez and Cristian Rodriguez gets a start on the left hand side of midfield. No Koke in the starting eleven, but Simeone opts for a two-man strikeforce of Diego Costa and David Villa once again. Plenty of options on the bench too for Los Rojiblancos, with Javi Manquillo the only long term injury absentee.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be leading you through all of the action tonight, as Atletico bid to make it five consecutive wins with another three points against tonight's opposition. The visitors are unbeaten in their last three outings, but sit 36 points below Simeone's men in the La Liga standings. A big ask for Alcaraz's side, but stranger things have happened this season.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of La Liga's title race, as Atletico face Granada at Estadio Vicente Calderon, with Diego Simeone's men keen to capitalise on Real Madrid's defeat to Barcelona last week. With the league title in the balance, be sure to stay with us for every step of the action, as Los Rojiblancos look to move into the business end of the campaign in style.
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