Spanish La Liga
Atl Madrid2Elche0

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Elche

Miranda celebrates

Atletico Madrid are three wins from their first La Liga title since 1996 following a tense victory over Elche.

The hosts had a penalty early in the second half but David Villa's weak kick was saved by keeper Manu Herrera.

Brazilian centre-back Miranda put them ahead 18 minutes from the end with a header from Jose Sosa's corner.

And Diego Costa wrapped up victory in injury time with a second penalty after being fouled by Cristian Sapunaru, who was sent off.

The result means that they are six points clear of Real Madrid and seven above Barcelona, although Atletico have played a game more than each of their two title rivals.

If Diego Simeone's side win their next three games - away to Valencia and Levante and at home to Malaga - they will be champions before their final-day match away to Barcelona.

It would be the first time in a decade that neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona have won the Spanish title.

And Atletico, who had won seven consecutive league matches coming into the game, looked to be feeling the pressure in the first half.

They struggled to create any real chances, and Elche had two good opportunities just before the half-hour mark.

Javier Marquez forced a sprawling save from Thibaut Courtois, who then pulled off a fantastic save moments later to keep out Sapunaru's header.

Villa, who was below-par throughout, should have given the hosts a half-time lead but he reacted too slowly to Costa's glanced header and turned the ball wide.

Just three minutes into the second half came their major opportunity to open the scoring. Sapunaru brought down half-time substitute Raul Garcia and was shown a yellow card.

Villa took the kick, because Costa has missed three penalties this season, but his effort was central and weak.

That looked like proving costly for Atletico until the 72nd minute when Miranda headed home to give them the lead.

And in injury-time the game was sealed when Sapunaru fouled Costa, who stepped up to score the penalty after Villa had been substituted earlier.

Next up for Atletico is their Champions League semi-final first leg with Chelsea on Tuesday as they continue to chase the unlikeliest of doubles.

La Liga title run-in
Atletico MadridReal MadridBarcelona
18-20 AprilAth Bilbao (H)
26-27 AprilValencia (A)Osasuna (H)Villarreal (A)
3-4 MayLevante (A)Valencia (H)Getafe (H)
7 MayValladolid (A)
10-11 MayMalaga (H)Celta Vigo (A)Elche (A)
18 MayBarcelona (A)Espanyol (H)Atl Madrid (H)

Line-ups

Atl Madrid

  • 13Courtois
  • 20Juanfran
  • 3Filipe Luis
  • 14Gabi
  • 23Miranda
  • 2Godín
  • 7AdriánSubstituted forRaúl Garcíaat 45'minutesBooked at 73mins
  • 5Tiago
  • 9VillaSubstituted forSosaat 62'minutes
  • 19Diego CostaBooked at 63mins
  • 6KokeSubstituted forDiegoat 57'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Aranzubia
  • 4Suárez
  • 8Raúl García
  • 11Rodríguez
  • 12Alderweireld
  • 21Diego
  • 24Sosa

Elche

  • 1Herrera Yagüe
  • 2Suárez
  • 19SapunaruBooked at 90mins
  • 24Sánchez
  • 3Botía
  • 18PelegrínBooked at 65mins
  • 15GilSubstituted forÑíguez Esclapezat 71'minutes
  • 5RiveraBooked at 63mins
  • 28HerreraSubstituted forChaves de la Torreat 57'minutes
  • 17MárquezSubstituted forBoakyeat 77'minutes
  • 11CorominasBooked at 55mins

Substitutes

  • 4Rodríguez Lombán
  • 7Ñíguez Esclapez
  • 8Mantecón
  • 9Boakye
  • 13Rodríguez Martínez
  • 16Chaves de la Torre
  • 25Mendes Rodrigues
Referee:
Carlos Clos Gómez
Attendance:
48,782

Match Stats

Home TeamAtl MadridAway TeamElche
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home14
Away8
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home7
Away6
Fouls
Home7
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Atlético de Madrid 2, Elche 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Atlético de Madrid 2, Elche 0.

Goal!

Goal! Atlético de Madrid 2, Elche 0. Diego Costa (Atlético de Madrid) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Dismissal

Second yellow card to Cristian Sapunaru (Elche) for a bad foul.

Penalty Atlético de Madrid. Diego Costa draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Cristian Sapunaru (Elche) after a foul in the penalty area.

Attempt missed. Coro (Elche) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, Elche. Conceded by Diego Godín.

Attempt saved. Diego Costa (Atlético de Madrid) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Diego with a through ball.

Foul by José Sosa (Atlético de Madrid).

Damián Suárez (Elche) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Gabi (Atlético de Madrid).

Richmond Boakye (Elche) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Offside, Atlético de Madrid. José Sosa tries a through ball, but Diego Costa is caught offside.

Corner, Elche. Conceded by Tiago.

Foul by Tiago (Atlético de Madrid).

Coro (Elche) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Sergio Pelegrín (Elche) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Damián Suárez following a set piece situation.

Substitution

Substitution, Elche. Richmond Boakye replaces Javier Márquez.

Foul by Gabi (Atlético de Madrid).

Fidel (Elche) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Offside, Atlético de Madrid. Juanfran tries a through ball, but Diego Costa is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Carlos Sánchez (Elche) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Damián Suárez with a cross.

Corner, Elche. Conceded by Miranda.

Booking

Raúl García (Atlético de Madrid) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Raúl García (Atlético de Madrid).

Carlos Sánchez (Elche) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Atlético de Madrid 1, Elche 0. Miranda (Atlético de Madrid) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by José Sosa with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Atlético de Madrid. Conceded by Cristian Sapunaru.

Substitution

Substitution, Elche. Aarón replaces Carles Gil.

Attempt missed. Diego (Atlético de Madrid) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Gabi.

Raúl García (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Cristian Sapunaru (Elche).

Offside, Atlético de Madrid. José Sosa tries a through ball, but Diego Godín is caught offside.

Booking

Sergio Pelegrín (Elche) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Diego Costa (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Sergio Pelegrín (Elche).

Booking

Diego Costa (Atlético de Madrid) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Alberto Rivera (Elche) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Diego Costa (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

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