Soaring Atletico too good for Malaga

In a game of few chances, Atletico was by a distance the more clinical side to register a fourth straight La Liga win.

Atletico Madrid's Koke (back) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal.   -  REUTERS

Atletico Madrid leapfrogged Sevilla into third place in La Liga as goals from Koke and Filipe Luis secured a 2-0 win at struggling Malaga on Saturday.

In a game of few chances, Atletico was by a distance the more clinical side to register a fourth straight La Liga win.

Sevilla can move back into third on Sunday when it hosts Sporting Gijon.

MATCHCENTRE

The top two are also in action on Sunday as leader Real Madrid hosts Alaves, whilst Barcelona travels to Granada.

"We didn't make mistakes and when we got our chance in the second-half, Filipe finished it fantastically," said Atletico boss Diego Simeone.

"The 2-0 (scoreline) makes it look like something it wasn't. I always felt there were difficulties and in danger."

Malaga remains winless in three games under new coach Michel to remain just six points above the drop zone.

The host's struggles were summed up by a lack of punch in front of goal despite dominating possession for long spells.

Atletico by contrast is coming into form just at the right time of the season ahead of a huge April as it travels to meet Real in the Madrid derby next weekend before facing Leicester City in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Koke sent an early warning when his low effort from 25 yards was well held by Carlos Kameni.

However, the Spanish international netted for the second straight league game when he latched onto Fernando Torres's turn at the edge of the box to prod home from close range.

Clear chances were hard to come by thereafter as Jan Oblak easily saved Keko's ambitious backheel at the end of a lovely Malaga move.

Atletico sat deep for the majority of the second-half happy to resist Malaga's powderpuff attacks.

And the visiting team took its chance to make the game safe 16 minutes from time when Luis was the beneficiary of another Torres assist as he dinked the ball over Kameni from a narrow angle.

Earlier, Villarreal and Real Sociedad once again slipped up in the fight for European places.

Sociedad edged a point ahead of Villarreal in fifth despite being held 1-1 at home by Leganes.

Villarreal surrendered an early lead as Eibar maintained its hopes of qualifying for Europe for the first time with an impressive 3-2 win at El Madrigal.

Three points now separate fifth and eighth as Athletic Bilbao was also 2-1 victor at rock bottom Osasuna thanks to goals from Ariz Adur and Inari Williams.