Atletico Madrid had to come from behind twice to beat Athletic Bilbao 3-2 in an exciting encounter at the Wanda Metropolitano this evening.
Atleti have been on an unbeaten run in the league since the 2-0 loss away to Celta Vigo on September 1st. Diego Simeone made four changes to the side that defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday, with youngster Francisco Montero partnering Diego Godin in the centre of the defence. The two defenders replaced Lucas Hernandez and Jose Gimenez, and Santiago Arias and Diego Costa took to the field in place of Juanfran and Nikola Kalinic respectively.
Athletic have had a woeful start to the campaign and are just one place above the relegation spots. Eduardo Berizzo’s men have only won once so far this season and before tonight’s match had only picked up three points from the last 15 available. There were five changes to the side that lost 1-0 away to Espanyol last week, with Unai Nunez replacing the injured Yeray Alvarez in the centre of defence, as well as Mikel Balenziaga, Benat, Iker Muniain and Markel Susaeta starting place of Daniel Carrillo, Mikel Rico, Raul Garcia and Aritz Aduriz.
The visitors were by far the strongest team in the first half and their performance was rewarded in the 36th minute when Inaki Williams tapped in a rebound following Jan Oblak’s save from a Mikel San Jose shot hit the underside of the bar, giving the struggling Basque side a 1-0 lead at half time.
It took Los Colchoneros 16 minutes into the second half to grab an equaliser. Filipe Luis found Thomas Partey on the left hand side and the midfielder smashed a long range shot into the net. Atleti’s joy was short-lived however, and Athletic grabbed their second of the game just three minutes later. Iker Muniain found Williams who broke clear of the home defence and chipped past Oblak to secure a brace.
In the 80th minute Atleti made it honours even for the second time, when Thomas whipped the ball into the box, his cross was met by Rodri who nodded in to give Atleti the opportunity to gain something from the game. The hosts continued to create chances to win the game and their efforts finally came into fruition in the 91st minute, when Antoine Griezmann hit a free kick into the box and Diego Godin headed in, and after a VAR review the goal was awarded, resulting in a win for the Madrid side.
Diego Simeone’s side have now climbed to second place in La Liga following the result. After the international break, Atleti welcome league leaders Barcelona to the Wanda Metropolitano.
Athletic remain in 17th position after tonight’s loss. They welcome Getafe to San Mamés after the break where they will be looking to kick-start their campaign.
Atletico Madrid (4-4-2): Oblak; Arias, Godin, Montero (Gelson, 56), Filipe Luis; Correa (Kalinic, 62), Thomas, Rodri, Saul; Diego Costa (Vitolo, 45), Griezmann
Athletic Bilbao (4-3-3): Herrerin; de Marcos, Nunez, Martinez, Balenziaga; Benat (Nolaskoain, 67), San Jose, Muniain; Susaeta (Capa, 88), Williams (Garcia, 76), Berchiche