Villa, Costa on target for buoyant Atletico
Atletico Madrid moved back to within a point of Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
David Villa and Diego Costa were again the men who inflicted the damage on the Basques as the former opened the scoring with a volley from Juanfran's cross on 32 minutes.
Costa then cored his 13th goal in 12 league games this season with a brilliant individual effort eight minutes later.
And Atletico boss Diego Simeone was full of praise for the Brazilian-born striker who moved level again with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the La Liga scoring charts.
"He is huge for us in every way," Simeone said of Costa.
"He scored a wonderful goal, his movement and power was great.
"But not just his goals, in his participation in the play and the connection he has with the other players he makes the team better.
"He is growing in every aspect and he will continue to do so because he still has a lot to improve."
An 11th victory in 12 league games also means Atletico maintain their five point advantage over city rivals Real Madrid in third.
However, despite such an incredible start to the campaign, Simeone insisted he is not annoyed to still find his side behind Barca at the top of the table.
"No, we are not frustrated (that Barcelona keep winning), we are just enjoying the moment that we are in at the moment. We are excited and know we are making the Atleti fan on the street happy."
Villa was first to threaten as his powerful free-kick was well-held by Gorka Iraizoz before Costa broke clear and pulled his shot just beyond the far post.
Iraizoz then made an incredible save to prevent Villa's volley from close range as the ball ricocheted around the Athletic box.
However, six minutes later the keeper was beaten from a similar move as Juanfran got the by-line and his cross fell for Villa whose shot deflected off Mikel San Jose on its way into the net.
Costa then got his customary goal to make the game safe as he powered down the left, cut inside Erik Moran and slotted cooley past Iraizoz into the far corner.
Villa should have added a third 12 minutes after the restart when he headed Adrian Lopez's excellent cross straight at Iraizoz.
There were to be no more goals, but a miserable day for the visitors was rounded off 12 minutes from time when Moran was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Diego Godin.
Earlier, Valencia eased the pressure on their coach Miroslav Djukic with a badly needed 1-0 win away to high-flying Getafe.
Dorlan Pabon's wonderful long-range effort was enough to secure Los Che's first win in four league games and move them into the top-half of the table, three points behind Getafe who remain sixth.
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