A Saul Niguez goal was enough for Atletico Madrid to secure the 3 points this afternoon away to Real Betis at the Estadio Benito Villamarín.
There were four changes to the Atleti starting 11 to the one that drew 1-1 with Chelsea on Wednesday, with the injured Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres making way for Kevin Gameiro and Angel Correa, and Sime Vrsaljko and Diego Godin replacing José Giménez and Lucas Hernández in defence.
Quique Setién made three changes to the side that was defeated 1-0 to Las Palmas on Monday, with Zouhair Feddal replacing the suspended Jordi Amat and Ryad Boudebouz and Andrés Guardado replacing Victor Camarasa and Javi Garcia in midfield.
The Seville side started off comfortably, playing fast tempo football and having Atletico stay deep in their area.
This continued until the 29th minute of the match, when Diego Godin found Sime Vrsaljko unmarked down the right wing, finding the Croatian with a long pass to begin a counter attack. With three teammates waiting in the box, the right back fired in a cross, reaching the far post where Saul slid in to score the only goal of the match.
Betis weren’t lying down and appealed for penalties during the first half, with Cristian Tello being brought down inside the box and calls for handball from a Joaquin cross, however referee Alejandro José Hernández Hernández waved away protests.
Béticos continued to even the scores in the second half, with Sergio Leon hitting a shot wide after a weak cross from Tello, who had the home side’s best chance in the 60th minute, hitting a powerful strike towards Oblak’s top corner, however the keeper successfully managed to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.
The result has taken Atleti’s unbeaten record to 15 matches, and they sit in third place, one point behind Valencia and six behind leaders, Barcelona. Betis remain in 11th place, equal on points with Celta Vigo and Eibar.
After the match, Setién praised his side’s display, telling the press “it was a shame because today we showed what we would like to have done since the beginning of the season. This is the way we have to continue, playing with the courage that the team has shown today.”
Diego Simeone praised the opposition during his post match press conference. “It was a difficult and tough match. Betis started off strongly, especially in the first 20 minutes,” he said. “But we responded well and began to seize control of the match.”