Having edged a tetchy first half by Renan Lodi’s opening strike, Atletico Madrid repeated the trick during an improved performance following the break.
Once again, Kondogbia and the Brazilian wing-back combined to slay an attractive but relatively timid Celta team, which dominated the ball but could not find a cutting edge when it mattered.
Once the champions were two goals to the good, the game was effectively over as a contest, and they kept the pressure up on Barcelona, who they’ve leapfrogged in the table – for a day, at least.
ATLETICO MADRID (3-5-2): Jan Oblak;
Reinildo, Jose Gimenez, Stefan Savic;
Sime Vrsaljko, Hector Herrera, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Marcos Llorente, Renan Lodi;
Joao Felix, Angel Correa.
SUBS: Benjamin Lecomte, Javier Serrano, Mario Hermoso, Rodrigo de Paul,
Thomas Lemar, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann, Yannick Carrasco, Felipe.
CELTA VIGO (4-1-3-2): Matias Dituro;
Hugo Mallo, Joseph Aidoo, Nestor Araujo, Javi Galan; Fran Beltran;
Brais Mendez, Denis Suarez, Franco Cervi;
Iago Aspas, Santi Mina.
SUBS: Ruben Blanco, Kevin Vazquez, Jeison Murillo, Nolito, Jose Manuel Fontan,
Jorge Carrillo Balea, Augusto Solari, Carlos Dominguez, Thiago Galhardo, Renato Tapia, Orbelin Pineda.
ATLETI BREAKTHROUGH! A brilliant piece of individual skill sees Lodi receive a dropping ball from Kondogbia on the left side of the box, stand Mallo up, then drill a low shot in at an improbable angle at Dituro’s near post. That’s an excellent finish by the Brazilian, and Atletico Madrid goes 1-0 up.
LODI AT THE DOUBLE! Atleti’s flying wing-back strikes again as Lodi escapes off the back of Mallo on the left side of the area and latches on to another well-measured Kondogbia pass. He then strokes the ball home into the bottom corner to double Atleti’s advantage! 2-0 to the champions.
So, where else do Atletico and Celta go from here?
Before journeying to Manchester’s ‘Theatre of Dreams’ for their Champions League return leg.
Atleti will face Real Betis and Cadiz in La Liga over the coming fortnight.
Celta, meanwhile, continues their pursuit of a top-half finish against Mallorca next Sunday.
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