Unlikely hero scores in first half to ensure that his Argentine boss continues his impressive start at the helm of Los Colchoneros
Atletico Madrid continue to progress under coach Diego Simeone courtesy of a narrow 1-0 victory over fellow European challengers Osasuna, in their Primera Division encounter at Reyno de Navarra on Monday evening.
The visitors had an unlikely hero in the form of Diego Godin in this clash, who netted the only goal in what was a heated encounter.
Both sides became entangled in a host of rash challenges, with Serbian Dejan Lekic first to go in the referee’s notebook just after the half hour mark. Atletico striker Radamel Falcao also picked up a yellow, his third of the season having become frustrated with his first half showing.
The home side had Francisco Punal orchestrating the early proceedings but neither keeper was forced into action until after the first quarter, with Adrian and Falcao linking up nicely for Atletico only for the latter to force a tidy save from Andres.
Osasuna seemed content with attacking on the counter, but young Belgian shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois was a virtual spectator in the first period.
Both managers looked anxious and frustrated until full-back Felipe went on a trademark run, allowing defender Godin to provide a real poacher’s finish on the goal line, reacting first after an initial attempt from team-mate Falcao.
The Colombian and his strike partner, Adrian, linked up well again in the second half as Atletico almost doubled their lead, but couldn't provide the killer goal that would end the contest.
Visiting custodian Courtois was much the busier in the second half, pulling off a fine selection of saves, notably from Lekic. Coach Diego Simeone recognised this as he replaced Koke and Juanfran with the fresh legs of Luis Perea and Eduardo Salvio.
At the death Raul Garcia also almost beat Courtois after a wonderful ball in from Roland Lamah, but the Belgian youngster pulled off a fine stop to keep the sides a goal apart.
The away side were able to hold on, and the victory sees Atletico leapfrog their opponents into seventh – with the home side dropping to 10th in the table.