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Diego Simeone ran wildly down the tunnel at the final whistle, pumping his fists, his tie flying behind him. For a man who lives every second of every Atletico Madrid, this win was amongst his most desperate ones in nearly a decade at the club.

Atletico secured a crucial 2-1 win at home against Real Sociedad to extend their lead at the top of the table to four points. It can be cut back down to two when Real Madrid play tomorrow but this week, Atleti have done their part.



Coming into the match on the back of a goalless draw against Barcelona that maintained the status quo more than anything, Atletico needed a win to keep their fortunes in their hands. First half goals from Yannick Carrasco and Angel Correa were enough to get the three points even as a late Igor Zubeldia goal made things uncomfortable.

For Sociedad, the result means that they are now looking over their shoulder in fifth spot. Real Betis are just two behind in sixth and Villarreal four behind in seventh, both of them having played a game less. The race for Europa league is as tight as the one for the title in Spain.

Here are our key takeaways from the match –


Simeone’s side started on the front foot and created a host of good chances in the first half. This was largely down to the overly aggressive high line played by Sociedad. Saul was played in by Trippier by a great ball over the top but he couldn’t find Suarez. Suarez shot over from a cross by Marcos Llorente.




Llorente then missed after being put through in-behind. Suarez also had a sighter from a free-kick from a good shooting range. The profligacy, thankfully, subsided soon after and did not cost Atleti the match and perhaps, the title race. Sociedad dropped deeper in the second half after more scares which made their defence far more comfortable.



After missing good early chances Luis Suarez and Llorente decided to pass on the mantle to other players in the side. First, Llorente chipped in a brilliant ball for Carrasco who took a decent first touch before toe-poking the opener through the legs of Alex Remiro in the Sociedad goal.



Then, Atleti’s Uruguayan striker turned provider. Suarez held up the ball well and waited till the right moment before sliding the pass through two defenders for Angel Correa to run onto. Correa made no mistake as he doubled the lead for Los Colchoneros.



Yannick Carrasco was arguably the best player for Simeone in their draw against Barcelona on Saturday and he was crucial to their success today as well. At the Camp Nou he weaved and jinked, trying to create an opening through an uncharacteristically stoic defense.



At the Wanda Metropolitana, his role was that of a finisher. His goal was smart, cheeky even. He was also well involved in the build-up, feeding the Atleti frontline well with good passes in behind.



As the match went on, Sociedad grew into the game, desperate for something to grasp onto as they search for a Europa League spot. Imano Alguacil’s side managed to create some half chances but before they could knock, Atleti goalkeeper Jan Oblak bolted the door shut.



He made sharp saves just after the half hour mark before taking it a notch up in the second 45. Oblak made his best stop of the game in the 67th minute, tipping over Portu’s volley on the bounce. His saves proved crucial as Zubeldia’s late goal might have had a different connotation than a consolation otherwise.

If Atletico win their remaining two matches, they are champions. Sounds easy enough but this season has shown that what looks easy isn’t so. Nevertheless, a big step forward for Atletico and a setback for Sociedad.

Ritwik Khanna
Economics student supporting FC Goa and Manchester United, in true masochistic way. Can be found reading Jonathan Wilson and Sid Lowe or planning a quirky trip in his free time.

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