Atlético Madrid made a small but not insignificant dent in Barcelona’s lead at the top of the league table on Saturday afternoon with a come-from-behind win over Real Sociedad thanks to goals from Filipe Luis and Antoine Griezmann.
Atlético were slow to get started and were thoroughly dominated in the first half. However, the visitors were unable to add to an early advantage and Atleti made them play with a much-improved second half — capped by a late Griezmann winner against his old team.
Real Sociedad had all of the ball to start the game. Eusebio’s men were slow to create but once they did, they were hard to slow down.
Willian José blazed over from relatively close range before he whipped a ball across the box that left Jan Oblak stranded — fortunately for him, Atlético recovered and avoided conceding the opener. Real couldn’t score on that occasion but it wouldn’t be long before they did.
Oblak, who was in no man’s land again, lunged at the feet of nippy Mikel Oyarzabal, and he hit the ground before the referee pointed to the spot. Willian José buried the penalty down the middle on 29 minutes and Atlético needed to respond.
And respond they did, even if the chances didn’t translate into goals. Ángel Correa enjoyed Atlético’s best looks at goal as they tried to get back into the game. He poked a shot towards Gerónimo Rulli from close range before doing the same from further out with nobody to beat but the keeper (and with Griezmann to his right).
It wasn’t Correa’s worst miss of the night, though. That would come early in the second half when Koke teed him up and he fired over from point blank range with Rulli out of position. It had the look of “one of those nights”, even as Atlético showed more impetus and created chances without being stretched at the back. Real Sociedad were putting everything into defending and knew they had a tall task on their hands.
Atlético eventually drew level on 64 minutes, when Saúl made a run down the right before throwing what looked like an overhit cross into the box. The ball made its way to Filipe Luís, and he shimmied onto his right and drove home to draw the sides level.
It was more of the same from Atlético as they tested Rulli time and again with Griezmann coming particularly close with a header and a long-range effort. But it looked like Atlético’s luck was out in search of the winner.
Then Griezmann finally hit jackpot. Saúl caught Rulli by surprise and looped a ball to the back post, where Griezmann poked home to give Atlético the lead and all three points as there was little time for much more action with the Wanda Metropolitano cheering their side home.
Atletico Madrid sit six points back of leaders Barcelona and one point behind Valencia with Marcelino’s side yet to play this weekend. They have been holding out until January for their chance to bring in more quality but based on the cojones they showed in this game, they have most of what they need in the squad already.