Atletico Madrid 3 Deportivo Alaves 0: Kalinic and Griezmann on target in Costa's absence

Atletico Madrid went joint-top of La Liga alongside Barcelona thanks to a 3-0 victory over Deportivo Alaves at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Published : Dec 08, 2018 19:58 IST

Atletico Madrid players celebrate after Nikola Kalinic scored the first goal of the game.
Atletico Madrid players celebrate after Nikola Kalinic scored the first goal of the game.

Atletico Madrid players celebrate after Nikola Kalinic scored the first goal of the game.

Nikola Kalinic and Antoine Griezmann ensured Diego Costa's absence was not sorely felt as Atletico Madrid claimed a 3-0 victory over high-flying Deportivo Alaves at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Croatia international Kalinic broke his Atletico duck in Wednesday's 4-0 Copa del Rey win over Sant Andreu and his 25th-minute strike was added to late on by Griezmann and Rodrigo to send the hosts joint-top of La Liga with Barcelona.

With Costa anticipated to be out for two months following foot surgery, goals from Kalinic and Griezmann will be a huge boost for Diego Simeone, though a first-half injury for Lucas Hernandez will provide cause for concern.

READ | Keylor Navas must decide his own future, says Santiago Solari

Atletico had to weather a difficult second half against its persistent visitor, but Griezmann and Rodrigo struck in the 82nd and 87th minute respectively to seal the win by a flattering scoreline.

Thomas Lemar's introduction spurred Atletico on to its win over Sant Andreu and after he spread the play out to Santiago Arias, the Colombian whipped in a cross that Kalinic diverted home with his stomach.

Ibai Gomez warmed the gloves of Jan Oblak from 20 yards in response and the host lost Lucas nine minutes before the break after Jonathan Calleri landed on his leg following an aerial challenge.

Jose Gimenez returned after a month out with a hamstring issue to replace Lucas and he hit the post from Lemar's corner three minutes after the restart.

ALSO READ | Dortmund sporting director Zorc 'relieved' Dembele also showing indiscipline at Barcelona

Alaves continued to provide a threat against its stoic host but Griezmann put the game to bed when he tucked home from an acute angle after a challenge from Victor Laguardia pushed his initial attempt against the post.

Rodrigo rounded things off for Atletico five minutes later, tapping home from close range after Fernando Pacheco had kept out a powerful effort from Angel Correa.

What does it mean? Alaves a serious contender

This fixture would not have been tipped as a top-four contest prior to the start of the season, but Abelardo's excellent Alaves side proved it is worthy of its place in La Liga's upper echelons. The visitor showed great levels of confidence to keep the pressure high against the division's best defensive side, but it was caught short at the back in the closing stages and punished by the title hopeful.

Kalinic repays Simeone faith

Simeone told the media on Friday he did not anticipate Atletico signing a new striker in January following Costa's foot surgery. After a slow start since moving to Madrid from AC Milan, Kalinic added some weight to his coach's words with his second goal in the space of four days. His withdrawal early in the second half suggests he can expect to see a decent chunk of minutes in the Champions League next week.

Oblak gets uncharacteristically edgy

He may have only conceded 10 goals in La Liga this season, but Oblak had some worrying moments as Alaves asserted itself in the second half. The Slovenia international displayed a lack of conviction when coming for a number of crosses, flapping at a couple and pushing one that was clearly going wide without an Alaves player nearby out for a corner.

What's next?

Atletico will look to wrap up top spot in Champions League Group A during its trip to Club Brugge on Tuesday, while Alaves entertains Athletic Bilbao a week on Monday.

Sign in to unlock all user benefits
  • Get notified on top games and events
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign up / manage to our newsletters with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early bird access to discounts & offers to our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide to our community guidelines for posting your comment