MADRID (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid climbed to the top of La Liga with a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Real Sociedad on Saturday, easing the pain of their humbling 4-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in midweek.
Defender Diego Godin broke the deadlock right at the end of the first half, sliding to the ground to pounce on a loose ball after the visitors had failed to properly clear a pass from Argentine Angel Correa.
Brazilian left back Filipe Luis sealed the win on the hour mark, smashing the ball into the top corner with his right foot after creeping into the area from the left-hand side and cleverly holding off a challenge from a defender.
Atletico lead the standings on 19 points after 10 games although champions Barcelona could climb back to the summit if they beat Real Madrid in Sunday’s ‘Clasico’, while Alaves will also move ahead of Atletico if they win at home to Villarreal.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone said he always had faith in his team even after Wednesday’s Champions League thumping by Dortmund in Germany, which was the heaviest defeat he has had to contend with since taking charge in December 2011.
“We always need to compete well in every game, and despite the bad result in Dortmund we still competed, and three days later we responded very well,” said Simeone, whose team are three points behind Dortmund in second place in Group A.
“We barely made changes because I thought the team was still in good shape and it was difficult to bring in other players. I liked the performance because the players showed consistency, they keep their heads and they were rebellious. That’s my team.”
Also on Saturday, Valencia’s strife continued with a 0-0 draw at Athletic Bilbao, leaving Marcelino’s side with only one win from their opening 10 games after coming fourth last season.
Celta Vigo thumped Eibar 4-0, Levante built on last week’s shock win at Real Madrid by seeing off Leganes 2-0 at home to make it four wins in a row, while Girona beat struggling Rayo Vallecano 2-1.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Ken Ferris)