Madrid, April 24 (IANS) Atletico Madrid kept its La Liga hopes alive with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Malaga, managing to pick up three points thanks to a second-half goal by Argentina’s Angel Correa.
Despite the win on Saturday, it was a frustrating day at the office for Atletico, who because of the visitors’ dogged effort were unable to play the match on their own terms, reports Efe.
Early on, Malaga showed some punch offensively and forced goalkeeper Jan Oblak to come up with more saves than usual at Vicente Calderon Stadium.
But midway through the contest, it was the seeming impenetrability of Malaga’s defence that was the most worrying aspect for Atletico head coach Diego Simeone, who had to look to his bench for a solution.
That switch, replacing Belgium’s Yannick Carrasco with Correa, proved to be a stroke of genius when the Argentine dribbled to his right to create space and fired a low, curving shot past Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in the 61st minute.
Simeone then opted to replace star French striker Antoine Griezmann with Argentine Augusto Fernandez to shore up his team’s midfield over the final half-hour.
It was a move that also paid off as Atletico Madrid secured an essential victory in its three-way battle with Real Madrid and Barcelona for the La Liga title with three games remaining.