By Miguel Angel Moreno
Madrid, Apr 18 (EFE).- Angel Correa spent two golden minutes just before the break, in one-two strikes to get Atletico Madrid up by two goals over Eibar. Then, in the second half, it was Yannick Carrasco and Marcos Llorente, the latter also contributing two goals for the 5-0 result that enabled the capital squad to retain its standing atop the La Liga table, at least for now.
The match was played at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid to empty stands due to coronavirus gathering restrictions.
“Don’t come (to the game) if you don’t believe” read one of the signs placed by fans in Madrid this past week, and nobody is a bigger believer than Correa, who after an unfortunate showing against Betis scored twice within 114 seconds against an Eibar who, up to that point, had been playing solidly and looked well-positioned for a potential win.
Although lacking Luis Suarez – who has scored 19 times this season – and its most talented player, Joao Felix, and also Thomas Lemar, Atletico’s resounding triumph rebooted their title hopes, putting them four points above their nearest rival, Real Madrid (who goes up against Getafe on the road later on Sunday), and five points up on Barcelona, both of whom had threatened to surpass the squad.
Atletico managed to score four goals in just 11 minutes of play both before and after the intermission, with Correa tallying in both the 42nd and 44th minutes before the break, then Carrasco – who had helped Correa on the second goal – scoring in the 49th minute after Saul Ñiguez knocked one over the top, sending it through the Eibar netminder’s legs.
Then, it was Ñiguez in the mix again as he sent a pass to Renan Lodi, then Correa sent it to Llorente in the box in the 53rd minute for the fourth goal, and Llorente again combined with Lodi and Carrasco on set-up to notch the fifth tally in the 68th minute for the final result.
Earlier on Sunday, Sevilla mounted comeback win over Real Sociedad, thus remaining just six points in back of Atletico and in the running for the title.
Carlos Fernandez had gotten Sociedad on the board just five minutes into play, but Fernando and Youssef En-Nesyri both scored in the first half for Sevilla to notch the team’s third consecutive victory.
Atletico de Madrid: Oblak; Trippier, Savic (Felipe, min. 74), Gimenez, Lodi; Saul, Herrera (Kondogbia, min. 69), Koke (Vitolo, min. 61), Carrasco (Torreira, min. 69); Llorente and Correa (Dembele, min. 61).
Eibar: Dmitrovic; Unai Dufur (Oliveira, min. 63), Burgos, Arbilla, Cote (Recio, min. 72); Sergio Alvarez; Pozo, Atienza, Aleix Garcia (Inui, min. 62), Kevin Rodrigues (Soares, min. 72); and Kike Garcia (Quique Gonzalez, min. 72).
Referee: Cesar Soto Grad showed a yellow card to Eibar’s Oliveira (min. 87)