Madrid, Oct 15 (EFE).- Antoine Griezmann’s goal in the second minute of the second half proved to be all Atletico Madrid would need Saturday to prevail 1-0 against Athletic and grab third place in LaLiga from the Basque club.
With a third straight win, the Colchoneros improved to 19 points, 3 less than both Barcelona – who lead the league on goal difference – and defending champions Real Madrid, who face each other Sunday in the first Clasico of the 2022-2023 season.
In Bilbao, the hosts had more of the ball and would outshoot Atletico 13-3, but the visitors took the lead in the 10th minute courtesy of Alvaro Morata, only for the goal to be disallowed after VAR detected that he fouled Yeray Alvarez in the buildup.
Athletic’s best chance of the first half fell to Nico Williams, who fired over the cross-bar in the 44th minute.
Barely 90 seconds into the second half, Morata held off two defenders long enough to cut back the ball for the onrushing Griezmann, who put it in the bottom-right corner of the net before Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simon could react.
At the other end of the pitch, Atleti keeper Jan Oblak required medical attention for a knock in the 55th minute and finally went off in the 69th after a collision in the air with Athletic’s Alejandro Berenguer.
Back-up keeper Ivo Grbic made a tremendous stop againsy Dani Garcia in the 84th minute and what looked like a perfect opportunity for Athletic to equalize from the spot in the 88th disappeared when VAR determined that Atletico defender did not use his arm to block a shot.
Athletic slip to fourth place on 17 points, just one better than Real Betis and Real Sociedad, who will both be in action Sunday.