Atletico Madrid put last week’s painful defeat by Real Madrid behind them with a 3-0 win over Osasuna on Sunday that included two goals in the space of a minute and allowed them to return to the top four in La Liga.
Defender Diego Godin gave Atletico the lead in the 36th minute with a towering header from a corner and Kevin Gameiro added the second immediately after, latching on to a lofted through ball from Angel Correa and producing a crisp, low finish.
Substitute Yannick Carrasco rounded off the victory in the 90th by robbing Unai Garcia in Osasuna’s half and tearing towards goal before powering home the ball.
Atletico had what looked to be a clear penalty turned down in the second half when Osasuna’s Oier Sanjuro appeared to block Tiago Mendes’s goalbound shot with his arm, the midfielder also escaping a red card.
Diego Simeone’s side capitalised on Villarreal’s surprise 2-0 defeat by Alaves earlier on Sunday to provisionally go fourth on 24 points.
Champions Barcelona can leapfrog Sevilla to go second when they visit Real Sociedad, sixth on 22 points, later on Sunday.
Simeone veered from the more attack-minded tactics he has embraced this season, reverted to employing Koke on the left wing and rewarded Tiago for his excellent display in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over PSV Eindhoven by again playing the Portuguese veteran alongside Gabi in the middle.
It made for a more solid if less threatening team and there were signs of the dogged Atletico side that won the La Liga title in 2014 thanks to an uncompromising defence and making use of set plays.
Godin became the first Atletico defender to score this season when he rose highest to nod in Koke’s curled corner and the visiting side were well on course for their first victory in three league games when Gameiro slipped behind the Osasuna backline to meet Correa’s ball and score the second.
Carrasco’s late goal equalled the scoreline by which Atletico had lost to Real last week while Simeone’s side also recorded a first clean sheet in six league games.
Villarreal felt the strain of returning to action less than 72 hours after their Europa League game away to Zurich and were beaten by two early goals from Alaves to surrender their unbeaten home record.
Ibai Gomez pounced on a loose ball at the far post to put the visitors ahead in the eighth minute while Victor Camarasa capitalised on indecisive defending from a long ball by the hosts to knock in the second in the 17th.