Atletico Madrid went joint-top of LaLiga alongside Barcelona thanks to a 3-0 victory over Deportivo Alaves at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Nikola Kalinic and Antoine Griezmann ensured Diego Costa’s absence was not sorely felt as Atletico Madrid claimed a 3-0 victory over high-flying Deportivo Alaves at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Croatia international Kalinic broke his Atletico duck in Wednesday’s 4-0 Copa del Rey win over Sant Andreu and his 25th-minute strike was added to late on by Griezmann and Rodrigo to send the hosts joint-top of LaLiga with Barcelona.
With Costa anticipated to be out for two months following foot surgery, goals from Kalinic and Griezmann will be a huge boost for Diego Simeone, though a first-half injury for Lucas Hernandez will provide cause for concern.
Atletico had to weather a difficult second half against their persistent visitors, but Griezmann and Rodrigo struck in the 82nd and 87th minute respectively to seal the win by a flattering scoreline.
Thomas Lemar’s introduction spurred Atletico on to their win over Sant Andreu and after he spread the play out to Santiago Arias, the Colombian whipped in a cross that Kalinic diverted home with his stomach.
4 – Atletico have scored a goal in the first half in a LaLiga game after four games without doing so. Return. pic.twitter.com/euFjsWjpJi
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 8, 2018
Jose Gimenez returned after a month out with a hamstring issue to replace Lucas and he hit the post from Lemar’s corner three minutes after the restart.
Alaves continued to provide a threat against their stoic hosts but Griezmann put the game to bed when he tucked home from an acute angle after a challenge from Victor Laguardia pushed his initial attempt against the post.
Rodrigo rounded things off for Atletico five minutes later, tapping home from close range after Fernando Pacheco had kept out a powerful effort from Angel Correa.