Spanish La Liga
Atl MadridAtlético Madrid2ElcheElche0

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Elche

By Emlyn BegleyBBC Sport
Miranda celebrates

Atletico Madrid are three wins from their first La Liga title since 1996 following a tense victory over Elche.

The hosts had a penalty early in the second half but David Villa's weak kick was saved by keeper Manu Herrera.

Brazilian centre-back Miranda put them ahead 18 minutes from the end with a header from Jose Sosa's corner.

And Diego Costa wrapped up victory in injury time with a second penalty after being fouled by Cristian Sapunaru, who was sent off.

The result means that they are six points clear of Real Madrid and seven above Barcelona, although Atletico have played a game more than each of their two title rivals.

If Diego Simeone's side win their next three games - away to Valencia and Levante and at home to Malaga - they will be champions before their final-day match away to Barcelona.

It would be the first time in a decade that neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona have won the Spanish title.

And Atletico, who had won seven consecutive league matches coming into the game, looked to be feeling the pressure in the first half.

They struggled to create any real chances, and Elche had two good opportunities just before the half-hour mark.

Javier Marquez forced a sprawling save from Thibaut Courtois, who then pulled off a fantastic save moments later to keep out Sapunaru's header.

Villa, who was below-par throughout, should have given the hosts a half-time lead but he reacted too slowly to Costa's glanced header and turned the ball wide.

Just three minutes into the second half came their major opportunity to open the scoring. Sapunaru brought down half-time substitute Raul Garcia and was shown a yellow card.

Villa took the kick, because Costa has missed three penalties this season, but his effort was central and weak.

That looked like proving costly for Atletico until the 72nd minute when Miranda headed home to give them the lead.

And in injury-time the game was sealed when Sapunaru fouled Costa, who stepped up to score the penalty after Villa had been substituted earlier.

Next up for Atletico is their Champions League semi-final first leg with Chelsea on Tuesday as they continue to chase the unlikeliest of doubles.

La Liga title run-in
Atletico MadridReal MadridBarcelona
18-20 AprilAth Bilbao (H)
26-27 AprilValencia (A)Osasuna (H)Villarreal (A)
3-4 MayLevante (A)Valencia (H)Getafe (H)
7 MayValladolid (A)
10-11 MayMalaga (H)Celta Vigo (A)Elche (A)
18 MayBarcelona (A)Espanyol (H)Atl Madrid (H)

Line-ups

Atl Madrid

  • 13Courtois
  • 20Torres Belén
  • 3Filipe Luís
  • 14Fernández Arenas
  • 23Miranda
  • 2Godín
  • 7López ÁlvarezSubstituted forGarcia Escuderoat 45'minutesBooked at 73mins
  • 5Cardoso Mendes
  • 9VillaSubstituted forSosaat 62'minutes
  • 19Diego CostaBooked at 63mins
  • 6KokeSubstituted forRibas da Cunhaat 57'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Aranzubia
  • 4Suárez
  • 8Garcia Escudero
  • 11Rodríguez
  • 12Alderweireld
  • 21Ribas da Cunha
  • 24Sosa

Elche

  • 1Herrera Yagüe
  • 2Suárez
  • 19SapunaruBooked at 90mins
  • 24C Sánchez
  • 3Botía
  • 18PelegrínBooked at 65mins
  • 15GilSubstituted forÑíguez Esclapezat 71'minutes
  • 5RiveraBooked at 63mins
  • 28HerreraSubstituted forChaves de la Torreat 57'minutes
  • 17MárquezSubstituted forBoakyeat 77'minutes
  • 11CorominasBooked at 55mins

Substitutes

  • 4Rodríguez Lombán
  • 7Ñíguez Esclapez
  • 8Mantecón
  • 9Boakye
  • 13Rodríguez Martínez
  • 16Chaves de la Torre
  • 25Mendes Rodrigues
Referee:
Carlos Clos Gómez
Attendance:
48,782

Match Stats

Home TeamAtl MadridAway TeamElche
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home14
Away8
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home7
Away6
Fouls
Home7
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Atlético de Madrid 2, Elche 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Atlético de Madrid 2, Elche 0.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! Atlético de Madrid 2, Elche 0. Diego Costa (Atlético de Madrid) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

  4. Dismissal

    Second yellow card to Cristian Sapunaru (Elche) for a bad foul.

  5. Post update

    Penalty Atlético de Madrid. Diego Costa draws a foul in the penalty area.

  6. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Cristian Sapunaru (Elche) after a foul in the penalty area.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Coro (Elche) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left following a corner.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Elche. Conceded by Diego Godín.

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Diego Costa (Atlético de Madrid) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Diego with a through ball.

  10. Post update

    Foul by José Sosa (Atlético de Madrid).

  11. Post update

    Damián Suárez (Elche) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Gabi (Atlético de Madrid).

  13. Post update

    Richmond Boakye (Elche) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  14. Post update

    Offside, Atlético de Madrid. José Sosa tries a through ball, but Diego Costa is caught offside.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Elche. Conceded by Tiago.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Tiago (Atlético de Madrid).

  17. Post update

    Coro (Elche) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sergio Pelegrín (Elche) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Damián Suárez following a set piece situation.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Elche. Richmond Boakye replaces Javier Márquez.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Gabi (Atlético de Madrid).

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Friday 18th April 2014

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