Madrid, Jan 2 (EFE).- With Joao Feliz, Antoine Griezmann, Koke and Llorente out with Covid, with coach Diego Simeone’s bad streak leading Atletico de Madrid and a goal drought being suffered by Luis Suarez, on Sunday it was Angel Correa who stepped up, scoring twice in the Madrid squad’s 2-0 win over Rayo Vallecano and regaining for the team the No. 4 spot in the La Liga table before a crowd of some 43,000.
Rayo Vallecano left Wanda Metropolitano stadium on Sunday without having fired a single shot on goal and it was a decisive reversal for Atletico of the worst series of league defeats in a decade – four in a row – with the result that the team is back in Champions League play, although still 14 points behind league leader Real Madrid, who lost earlier to Getafe, with one game fewer in hand.
The victory enabled the defending La Liga champions to jump over Rayo into fourth position with 32 points, while their rivals are in fifth with 30.
The 1-0 tally came in the 28th minute, when the Argentine striker secured a rebound after Yannick Carrasco made a neat inside cut and shot on goal, blasting past netminder Luca Zidane to score from inside the box.
Rayo Vallecano couldn’t seem to mount any kind of response to the initial goal, posing virtually no problems for the capital squad and in the second period it was Correa again in the 53rd minute with Lemar starting the set-up from the left wing, passing to Renan Lodi, who sent a great pass the striker for the 2-0.
The win came as a breath of fresh air for Madrid coach Diego Simeone, who had never lost more than two consecutive La Liga matches since taking over the team in 2011 and who had tested positive for Covid last week but was OK’d for the game on Sunday with a negative test.
Atletico de Madrid: Oblak; Trippier, Gimenez, Hermoso, Lodi; Carrasco (Felipe, m. 90), De Paul, Kondogbia, Lemar; Correa, Luis Suarez (Cunha, m. 72).
Rayo Vallecano: Luca Zidane; Balliu, Maras, Saveljich, Kevin Rodrigues (Bebe, m. 58); Isi Palazon (Andres, m. 46), Santi Comesaña (Falcao, m. 75), Oscar Valentin, Fran Garcia; Unai Lopez (Óscar Trejo, m. 58); Sergi Guardiola (Aguirre, m. 81).