Atletico Madrid 2 Celta Vigo 0: Host's grip on second strengthened by Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann was unsurprisingly the star as Atletico Madrid battled to victory over Celta Vigo in LaLiga.

Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann   -  Getty Images

Atletico Madrid returned to winning ways in unconvincing fashion as Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata earned a 2-0 LaLiga victory over Celta Vigo.

Diego Simeone's men welcomed Celta to the Wanda Metropolitano following a 2-0 defeat to Barcelona that effectively ended their title hopes.

Diego Costa received an eight-match ban for insulting the referee during that game, and Atletico was often second best against a resurgent Celta, which had taken seven points from its last three matches to boost hopes of survival.

READ| Simeone: Costa's eight-game ban is excessive

However, Griezmann lashed home a 42nd-minute free-kick and Morata doubled the lead 16 minutes from time as Atletico increased its lead over Real Madrid - which plays Leganes on Monday - to five points in the battle for second. Celta remains two points above the drop zone.

 

Atletico struggled to create much in the early going and owed much to Jan Oblak for keeping it level. The Slovenia international produced a reaction save to keep out Maxi Gomez's deflected effort and then made an even more impressive stop from Ryad Boudebouz's bicycle kick follow-up.

Opposite number Ruben Blanco did well to get a touch to Juanfran's low cross and take it away from numerous Atletico players queuing up to meet it in the box, but Oblak continued to be the busier of the two goalkeepers.

READ| Has Simeone lost his last big chance for success?

He was again required to preserve parity when he dove to his left to deny Sofiane Boufal after the Frenchman met Boudebouz's lay-off first time.

Celta was made to pay for not capitalising on its superiority as Griezmann powered a free-kick into the top-left corner after Vitolo was fouled by Gustavo Cabral.

Chances were less frequent in the second half but Morata made the points safe when he rounded Blanco after being played through on goal by Griezmann.

What does it mean? Griezmann lifts under-par Atleti

Atleti may have bounced back from its Camp Nou disappointment, but this was another game where it underperformed, which has been far too common in a season where it had a clear opportunity to dethrone Barca.

As so often is the case, it was Griezmann who hauled it into a winning position. His free-kick was unstoppable and his throughball for Morata to wrap things up perfectly weighted.

Oblak shows his class

Oblak is seen as perhaps the best goalkeeper in the world, and he showed why with three excellent saves to keep Celta at bay.

Mor needed from Emre

While Celta's forward line generally caused Atletico problems, Emre Mor struggled to make an impact. He had no shots, created no chances, and conceded three fouls before being taken off in the 65th minute.

What's next?

Atletico travels to Eibar next Saturday, when Celta faces a huge game in its fight against the drop, welcoming Girona to Balaidos.