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Atlético Madrid 3-0 Levante: Attacking might lifts Atlético

Los rojiblancos notched a comfortable win over the relegation candidates.

Atletico Madrid v Levante - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Ángel Correa, Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres were on target for Atlético Madrid in a crisp 3-0 win over Levante on Sunday afternoon.

The victory moved Atlético to within three games of an unbeaten debut season in LaLiga at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano. Diego Simeone’s men also moved six points clear of third-place Valencia with six weeks to go. Correa put Atleti ahead on 33 minutes before Griezmann and El Niño added sheen to the result in the second half. Los colchoneros have not conceded at A Stadium Called Wanda in any competition since Jan. 20 — a 900-plus minute stretch.

Atlético put the pedal to the metal very shortly after kickoff, forcing the issue and taking initiative with an attacking lineup. Oier Olazábal had no spectacular saves to make but was under pressure from Vitolo and Correa on either wing — in addition to a marauding Šime Vrsaljko, who was looking for someone to latch onto his crosses.

Correa alone had four first half shots, the last of which he lashed low for Atleti’s first goal. Vitolo took up the ball, cut inside and played a simple pass in the box to his left. A waiting Correa slid around multiple defenders to create space and smashed in his eighth league goal, further boosting his career-best scoring tally and handing his side a deserved lead.

Less than 10 minutes later, Griezmann went down in the box while one-on-one with Oier (his third 1v1 this week). There was contact, but Griezmann embellished it to make up for a heavy first touch and got himself booked for a few choice words he said to the referee Gil Manzano. Under that controversial cloud, Atlético went into halftime a goal up and likely not done yet.

Levante boss Paco López made two attacking changes during the intermission, and there would be a goal soon after Ivi and Enis Bardhi were introduced. Unfortunately for López, it wouldn’t be for his side.

It was an unmarked Griezmann who doubled Atlético’s advantage on 48 minutes, as he collected a Vrsaljko cross and hammered it into the top of the net with his right foot. The Frenchman — now up to 19 league goals this term — would be substituted for Torres just before the hour.

Torres’ moment would come with 12 minutes left in the match when, in front of the flag-waving Fondo Sur on Kid’s Day, he turned in a Correa cross via a volleyed finish. His 100th league goal in red and white put the result beyond any doubt — and it had to be an extremely emotional moment for El Niño, who of course announced his decision to depart earlier this week.

Atlético secured Champions League football for a sixth straight season with this win, a convincing display that tightens their grip on second place. The mattress makers are next in action on Thursday night, when they visit Real Sociedad.

Lineups

Atlético: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Savić, Godín, Lucas; Saúl, Koke (Gabi 62’), Correa, Vitolo (Juanfran 78’); Griezmann (Torres 58’), Gameiro.

Goals: Correa 33’, Griezmann 48’, Torres 77’

Levante: Oier; López, Cabaco, Rober, Abeid; Lerma, Campaña, Jason, Morales; Sadiku, Roger.

Goals: None