Atletico beat Granada to keep pressure on leaders Barca
MADRID - A second half strike from Arda Turan gave ten-man Atletico Madrid a 1-0 win away to Granada to keep them on the tail of leaders Barcelona.
Last season’s Europa League winners have continued to grow under Diego Simeone’s leadership and despite the strength of the top two in Spain they are just three points behind the Catalan side and have five more than city rivals Real.
Atletico needed to bounce back after suffering their first defeat away to Valencia and although they were far from their best against a lively Granada they did just enough to win.
Granada had more of the ball in the first half and took the game to Atletico with Youssef El Arabi a constant threat.
He forced Atletico keeper Thibaut Courtois into a block from close range on the half hour mark while the best chance fell to Gabriel Torje minutes later after a quick break but his shot was deflected by the hardworking Turan onto a post.
Atletico were always a danger in attack with Radamel Falcao eager to find the back of the net after failing to score in his last two games following his explosive start to the campaign where he was on target in his first nine league games.
It was Turan who broke the deadlock though as he converted a Jorge Resurrecion ‘Koke’ cross after 61 minutes and Atletico held on despite Mario Suarez being sent-off for a second yellow card.
Earlier, Levante moved up to fourth with a 2-0 win over Deportivo la Coruna while Getafe beat Valladolid 2-1 and Celta Vigo drew 1-1 with Mallorca.
On Saturday Barcelona continued their strong start to the season with a 3-1 win over Zaragoza that means they have taken 34 points from a possible 36. They maintained their eight-point lead over Real Madrid, who beat Athletic Bilbao 5-1.