Atletico Madrid closed to within a point of Liga leaders Barcelona once again with a facile 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday evening.
David Villa opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark before Diego Costa racked up his 13th goal of the season in the 41st minute.
The hosts started sluggishly but they carried a constant through their front two, with Costa and Villa both going close before the latter opened the scoring with a fine drive from just inside the area on 33 minutes.
Atletico doubled its advantage shortly before the break when Koke released Costa, who cut inside one defender before coolly slotting the ball past Gorka Iraizoz.
Diego Simeone's men could have put the result beyond all doubt in the 63rd minute when Koke and Costa combined again to tee up Villa, but the Barcelona man fired wide.
However, it mattered not, as any hope Athletic had of turning the game around all but ended when Erik Moran was sent off with just 10 minutes to go after picking up a second yellow for a poor challenge on Diego Godin.
Bizarrely, Iker Muniain had the visitors' best chance moments later, but he dragged his shot just wide after beating two men.
However, Atletico were ultimately able to cruise to their 11th victory in 12 Liga games so far this season - and their third in a row since their shock defeat at Espanyol.
- Sports & Recreation
- David Villa
- Diego Costa
- Diego Simeone