Sports Desk, Mar 10 (efe-epa).- Marcos Llorente and Luis Suarez got the goals for Atletico Madrid in Wednesday’s come from behind 2-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao.
The win gives the LaLiga leaders a 6-point cushion over Barcelona in second, while Suarez boosted his goal total to 18, just one fewer than former strike partner Lionel Messi in the race for the Spanish top-flight league scoring crown.
Athletic are 8th on 33 points, 11 above the drop zone.
The Colchoneros were dominant for the opening 15 minutes of the contest at the Wanda Metropolitano, but they failed to translate their control into pressure on visiting goalkeeper Unai Simon and the initiative began to shift to Athletic.
Winning individual battles gave the Bilbao side confidence going forward and the payoff materialized in the 21st minute with a goal by Iker Muniain, assisted by Iñaki Williams.
For the 10th time in their last 11 matches, Atletico conceded first, a dramatic departure from the solid defending that has been the foundation of the team’s success under Diego Simeone.
Atleti reacted, but it was only on the edge of half-time that they managed to equalize courtesy of Llorente, whose header took a lucky deflection off Athletic defender Unai Nuñez to make it 1-1.
The home side were most positive to start the second half and Suarez drew a foul from Nuñez in the 49th minute to win a penalty. Simon guessed wrong and the Uruguayan slotted the ball into the bottom left corner to put Atleti up 2-1.
Yannick Carrasco remained in the hunt for a third goal, testing Simon on one occasion and nearly forcing Nuñez into an own goal on a second try.
Llorente fired over the cross-bar with six minutes left in regulation and Simeone’s decision to replace Suarez with defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira for the final phase might have been questioned if Nuñez had sent the ball straight to Atletico keeper Jan Oblak on a chance in the 92nd minute. EFE