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Costa, Villa both net to keep Atletico on Barcas tails

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Updated 31 Oct 2013 21:16:54

Costa, Villa both net to keep Atletico on Barcas tails

A penalty in each half from Diego Costa and David Villa moved Atletico Madrid back to within a point of Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a 2-1 win at Granada on Thursday.

Costa declared his intention to play for Spain earlier in the week and he continued his claim to be included in Vicente del Bosque's squad next week by converting from the spot after Villa had been bundled over by Diego Mainz seven minutes before half-time.

Villa was again the victim for the second penalty award 12 minutes from time, but despite Costa still being on the field, it was Villa who took responsibility to seal the points with another confidently struck spot-kick.

Atletico were reduced to 10 men with two minutes remaining when Filipe Luis was shown a second yellow card and Odion Ighalo pulled a goal back in stoppage time, but it was too little too late for Granada, who slipped to their fifth home defeat of the season.

Diego Simeone's men had suffered their only defeat of the season in their last away game at Espanyol and they were put under the cosh early on by Granada.

Midfielder Recio saw a deflected effort clip the crossbar from a narrow angle and then forced Thibaut Courtois to awkwardly turn the ball over his own bar after the Belgian had been caught under a cross from the left.

Costa then had Atletico's first clear opportunity on 17 minutes when his header from close range was well-parried by Roberto in the Granada goal.

Atletico though were beginning to take control of the game and they were gifted the chance to open the scoring when Mainz unnecessarily charged into the back of Villa inside the area.

Costa confidently rolled the ball down the middle of the goal to register his 12th league goal of the season and move him back clear of Cristiano Ronaldo on 11 as La Liga's top scorer after the Portuguese's hat-trick in Real Madrid's 7-3 hammering of Sevilla on Wednesday.

Adrian Lopez ought to have doubled the visitors' advantage just before the break when he pulled his shot wide and Costa also had the chance to seal the points 22 minutes from time when Roberto stood up well to block his fiercely hit effort.

Atletico did finally get the all-important second goal when Villa was chopped down by Jeison Murillo and this time the former Barcelona man stepped up to send Roberto the wrong way for his sixth goal of the campaign.

However, the visitors' night was soured slightly in the dying minutes when Filipe Luis was shown a second yellow card for handball.

And Ighalo ensured a grandstand finish when he nodded home Allan Nyom's cross as the game entered stoppage time.


AFP

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