Eibar 0 Atletico Madrid 1: Lemar strikes late at Ipurua

Without the suspended Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann, it was Thomas Lemar who scored a late winner for Atletico Madrid at Eibar.

Thomas Lemar proved to be the match winner as his 85th minute strike sealed a 1-0 win for Atletico Madrid.   -  Getty Images

Thomas Lemar scored late as Atletico Madrid kept its slim La Liga title hopes alive with a 1-0 win at Eibar.

Atletico seemed set to be held at Ipurua on Saturday and hand runaway leader Barcelona a further advantage, but instead the side cut the gap down to six points.

Marko Dmitrovic made fine saves to deny Angel Correa and Diego Godin but the Eibar goalkeeper could do nothing about Atleti's 85th-minute winner. After a spell of head tennis, Nikola Kalinic sent Koke clear in the right channel and his low cross was tapped in at the back post by Lemar.

Correa was handed a central role in the absence of suspended duo Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa but he wasted a great chance in the eighth minute.

Dmitrovic made a big save with his legs after Alvaro Morata sent his strike partner through on goal and Sergio Alvarez made a vital challenge to deny Morata a shot as Atleti toiled.

Eibar should have taken the lead within two minutes of the restart, but Sergi Enrich could only send a flicked header wide from close range despite Joan Jordan's perfect set-piece delivery.

Morata was then sent through on goal by Vitolo but fired wide of the far post before Dmitrovic tipped over a dipping effort from Koke in the 53rd minute.

Diego Simeone sent on Lemar and Kalinic in the hope of adding firepower but Enrich was again denied the chance to open the scoring, this time by Godin's superb intervention.

Godin went close at the other end, Dmitrovic brilliantly keeping out the Atleti captain's powerful header before Eibar's Kike Garcia mistimed his own aerial effort.

But it was Lemar who decisively broke the deadlock, with Garcia and Jordan unable to muster a late reply.

What does it mean? Glimpse of Griezmann-less future

Amid continued speculation over Griezmann's future, this was a chance to see how Atletico might operate without its star man. That the side looked shorn of a real goal threat was concerning, but Real Madrid - which hosts Athletic Bilbao on Sunday - is seven points back so second spot should at least be secure.

Dmitrovic unlucky to lose

Atleti's frustration was mostly down to Eibar's deep-lying defence, but the match would have surely followed a different pattern had the visitor scored early. Correa should have given Dmitrovic no chance when he ran through, but the goalkeeper stayed big to make a great stop. His save from Godin with just 11 minutes to go was even better and he deserved more than the late defeat to which his side succumbed.

Morata not ready to be main man

With Costa and Griezmann both unavailable, Atleti needed Morata to step up. But the striker, on loan from Chelsea, continues to look short of confidence and uncertain in front of goal.

What's next?

Eibar goes to Huesca on Tuesday with Atletico at home to top-four hopeful and Europa League semifinalist Valencia a day later.

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