Football

Morata double keeps Atletico Madrid’s hopes alive

Decisive: Two quickfire goals from Alvaro Morata set Atletico Madrid on course for a win over Real Sociedad.  

Alvaro Morata’s first-half double fired 10-man Atletico Madrid to a 2-0 victory at Real Sociedad as Diego Simeone’s men kept their slim La Liga title hopes alive.

The Spain international striker scored twice in three first-half minutes on Sunday as Atletico cut the gap to leader Barcelona back to seven points.

Midfielder Koke was dismissed just after the hour mark, but Atletico has now won three straight league games after back-to-back defeats by Real Betis and Real Madrid last month had ended an 18-match unbeaten run.

“The sending off of Koke ended the game as we had planned it,” said Atletico coach Simeone.

“We had to defend, make ourselves strong in our penalty area and take a game that was very important to win.”

Slow start

After a slow start to the contest, Morata gave Atletico the lead on the half-hour mark by nodding home after Thomas Lemar’s corner was flicked on by Diego Godin.

Once again it was a set-piece that did the damage, as Morata climbed highest to meet Koke’s right-wing free-kick with a downward header into the bottom corner.

Juventus closed all talk of a challenge to its Serie A dominance after coming through a second-half onslaught at Napoli to win 2-1 in an engrossing match that saw each side have a man sent off and stretch its lead at the top to a huge 16 points.

Massimiliano Allegri’s unbeaten leader has now as good as sealed its eighth straight Serie A title after a match that looked dead at half-time with Juve two goals and a man up, but sparked back into life when goalscorer Miralem Pjanic was sent off for handling a Napoli pass and picking up a second yellow card just after the break.

Midfielder Pjanic swept home his free-kick opener in the 28th minute, which came immediately after Napoli was reduced to 10 men thanks to goalkeeper Alex Meret slicing down Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portuguese nipped in to intercept a terrible Kevin Malcuit backpass.

Emre Can added the second from a corner 11 minutes later after substitute David Ospina tipped away Pjanic’s stinging shot.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was left to rue a number of missed chances from his side in a 0-0 draw at Everton on Sunday that allowed Manchester City to maintain top spot in the Premier League.

Mohamed Salah passed up two glaring opportunities either side of half-time, while Fabinho was also wasteful as Liverpool failed to score for the third time in four games.

The results: La Liga: Real Sociedad 0 lost to Atletico Madrid 2 (Morata 30, 33); Valencia 2 (Rodrigo 49, Gameiro 89) bt Athletic Bilbao 0.

Serie A: Napoli 1 (Callejon 61) lost to Juventus 2 (Pjanic 28, Can 39); Atalanta 3 (Ilicic 28, Gomez 34, Gosens 59) bt Fiorentina 1 (Muriel 3).

Bundesliga: VfL Wolfsburg 1 (Brooks 54) drew with Werder Bremen 1 (Kruse 74).

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 6:20:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/morata-double-keeps-atletico-madrids-hopes-alive/article26431627.ece

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