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Played
December 21, 2013 7:00 PM GMT
Estadio Vicente Calderón — Madrid
Referee:‬ José González‎
Attendance:‬ 49000‎
 
30′ Diego Godín
47′ Diego Costa
Pedro Ríos 56′
77′ (PG) Diego Costa
 
Top of the Match
Diego Costa
Diego Costa
Atletico Madrid
Diego Costa
Diego Costa
Atletico Madrid
Flop of the Match
Koke
Koke
Atletico Madrid
Juan García García
Juan García García
Levante

Atletico Madrid 3-2 Levante: Diego Costa at the double as Rojiblancos go top of La Liga

The Brazil-born striker took his tally for the season to 19 goals with a left-footed volley and a game-deciding penalty, as Diego Simeone's men eked out a vital win

By Mark Doyle

DIEGO COSTA DIEGO GODIN ATLETICO MADRID LEVANTE LIGA BBVA 12212013
Getty Images
Atletico Madrid pulled three points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga courtesy of a battling 3-2 victory over Levante at the Vicente Calderon.

Andreas Ivanschitz put the visitors ahead after just a minute of action but the Rojiblancos levelled matters through Diego Godin on the half-hour mark.

Diego Costa then volleyed Atletico into the lead early in the second half and although Pedro Rios restored parity, the Brazil-born forward took his Liga tally for the season to 19 goals with a penalty.

The Rojiblancos had gone into the game level on points and goal difference with Barcelona, meaning that by bettering the Catalans' result against Getafe on Sunday, they would reach the winter break on top of the table. Consequently, the target was another resounding victory.

However, an expectant Vicente Calderon was silenced with less than 60 seconds of the game elapsed, with Ivanschitz slotting home left-footed after making a wonderfully-timed run into the area and then taking a through-ball in his stride.

One would have anticipated an immediate Atletico backlash but Diego Simeone's men appeared stunned by an incredibly adventurous start from their visitors, who looked set to deservedly double their advantage 11 minutes in until Thibaut Courtois pulled off a stunning save to deny David Barral.

However, Atletico slowly but surely began to take control of the game and it was a sign of just how far forward that they had advanced when centre-half Godin rose at the near post to head home a floated cross from Juanfran right on the half-hour mark.

The hosts could have taken the lead five minutes later but Keilor Navas did wonderfully well to get to save at the feet of Diego Costa.

Levante then lost Ivanschitz to injury as Atletico continued to pour forward, with David Villa going close with a deflected effort.

The Rojiblancos were unable to find a way through before the break, though, and could even have conceded right on the stroke of half-time, but Barral fired wide after beating Courtois to a through-ball.

It proved a costly miss because Atletico moved in front just over a minute after the restart, with Diego Costa appearing at the back post to beat Navas with a low, left-footed volley from Gabi's deep free kick.

Atletico seemed poised to coast to a comfortable win at that point but Rios levelled matters in sensational style in the 56th minute, pouncing on a mistake by Koke before driving past Filipe Luis and then unleashing an unstoppable 20-yard drive past Courtois.

The home side pressed for a winner but they didn't look like they had run out of ideas when Ruben Garcia clumsily felled Juanfran in the area, thus allowing Diego Costa to decide an enthralling encounter in Atletico's favour with a penalty that Navas will feel he should have saved.

Levante's frustration at being denied a deserved point spilled over in the dying seconds when Juanfran, who had been struck by Tiago during an off-the-ball incident in the first half, was sent off for lashing out at Filipe Luis.

Diego Costa then missed a great chance to complete his hat-trick but there was no taking the shine off a win that will send them into the winter break at the very least level on points with reigning champions Barca.


Atletico Madrid

13
Thibaut Courtois
Goalkeeper
3.00
2
Diego Godín
Defender
30′ 92′
3.50
3
Filipe Luis
Defender
2.50
20
Juanfran
Defender
30′
4.00
23
Miranda
Defender
2.50
5
Tiago
Midfielder
3.00
6
Koke
Midfielder
64′
2.00
10
Arda Turan
Midfielder
3.50
14
Gabi
Midfielder
13′ 47′
3.00
9
David Villa
Striker
60′
2.50
19
Diego Costa
Striker
47′ 77′
4.00

Levante

2.50
-
K. Navas
Goalkeeper
2.50
3
2.50
24
2.00
12
3.00
-
2.50
19
2.00
-
Rubén
Midfielder
11′
2.50
-
Diop
Striker
68′
2.50
-
Simão
Midfielder
87′
3.50
-
3.50
25

Substitutes

1
Dani Aranzubia
Goalkeeper
 - 
12
 - 
17
 - 
8
Raúl García
Midfielder
60′ 87′
3.00
11
 - 
19
Guilavogui
Midfielder
 - 
7
Adrián
Striker
64′
3.00

Substitutes

 - 
-
Javi Jiménez
Goalkeeper
 - 
-
 - 
12
Remi Gomis
Midfielder
 - 
25
Nabil El Zhar
Midfielder
 - 
7
3.50
14
 - 
-
Ángel
Striker
85′

Coach/Manager

-
3.50

Coach/Manager

 
  • Goal
  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
  • Penalty Missed
  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
  • Penalty Save
  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
  • Top & Flop Global Ranking
  • Fans' Man of the Match
  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
C. Ronaldo C. Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
28 6
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Striker
Atl. Madrid
27 5
Messi Messi
Striker
Barcelona
25 6
Karim Benzema Karim Benzema
Striker
Real Madrid
17 0
Alexis Sánchez Alexis Sánchez
Striker
Barcelona
17 0