Atletico close in on Real Madrid with Deportivo win
La Liga, Vicente Calderon - Atletico Madrid 2 (Saul 43, Turan 55) Deportivo La Coruna 0
Atletico Madrid closed the gap on Liga leaders Real Madrid to four points a typically hard-fought 2-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna.
Diego Simeone’s side ground down the bottom three strugglers at the Vicente Calderon, with the match somewhat overshadowed by reports of violence between fans before kick-off.
Saul Niguez netted the opener for Atleti, heading home from a Koke set piece delivery, before Arda Turan secured the win after 55 minutes, with Modibo Diakite deflecting a strike from the Turkish international into his own net.
The result keeps the pressure on leaders Real Madrid, who recorded a win over Malaga on Saturday, with Barcelona set to face high-flying Sevilla later on Sunday.
9’ - WOODWORK: Off the woodwork! Koke slings a brilliant cross into Mandzukic, who powers a header towards the target, but his downward effort smashes off the post with the goalkeeper beaten.
43’ GOAL! Atletico Madrid 1-0 Deportivo La Coruna: The resistance is broken! Saul applies the finishing touch to a Koke free-kick delivery and Atletico have the lead.
55’ GOAL! Atletico Madrid 2-0 Deportivo La Coruna: And the home side have doubled their lead! Deportivo fail to clear and Turan forces home a deflected finish.
62’ - SAUL CHANCE: Great play from Turan on the right side sees the Turk skip past his marker and loft a cross into the box. But Saul's header is straight at Fabricio and Deportivo survive another chance.
Atletico Madrid's Turkish midfielder Arda Turan (L) vies with Deportivo's midfielder Jose Rodriguez (C) and Deportivo's defender Pablo Insua (RAFP
Does Alessio Cerci deserve more playing time for Atletico? The Italian striker has had to make do with sporadic first-team opportunities since joining from Torino in the summer, but the reaction of the home crowd suggests that he has already become a favourite of the Vicente Calderon. So does Cerci deserve more of a chance up front? It would seem the Atleti fans certainly think so.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid): Simeone’s decision to recall Nigeuz from his loan at Rayo Vallecano last season has proved to be the right one, with the youngster becoming a first-team figure for the Liga champions this term. His creativity and invention gives Atletico’s central midfield unit an extra dimension, and he capped his performance against Deportivo with a well-taken opener.