Gameiro, Godin fire Atletico to first league win in a month vs. Osasuna
Atletico Madrid bagged their first La Liga victory in a month with a 3-0 win away to Osasuna on Sunday. With table toppers Real Madrid temporarily moving 12 points ahead of Atleti on Saturday, a loss was not an option for Los Rojiblancos, and it might have been a different story had Roberto Torres not missed a 13th minute penalty for the hosts.
Not falling behind so early was crucial, and in the end quick-fire first half strikes from Diego Godin and Kevin Gameiro, plus a stoppage time effort from Yannick Carrasco, earned Los Colchoneros the three points and moved them back into the top four.
The side look resilient once again, and a second clean sheet in four days is a big boost.
Osasuna is a tough place to visit and creating so many chances in addition to being denied two stone wall penalties offers a lot of encouragement at the other end of the pitch, too.
The side have conceded four penalties in their past three La Liga games, and it needs to stop.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Diego Simeone reverted back to the tried and trusted 4-4-2 setup and the side look so much more comfortable playing it.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jan Oblak, 8 -- Brilliant penalty save at 0-0 to get Jose Gimenez out of jail and ensure the side did not fall behind early. Crucial in the grand scheme of things.
DF Juanfran, 7 -- Mr .Consistent down the right-hand side. Benefitted from having the night off in midweek and looked fresh. Did his defensive work well and bombed forwards at will.
DF Diego Godin, 8 -- Appears to be much more comfortable playing alongside Gimenez. Was imperious at the back, dealing with everything that came his way and got the goal he has been threatening for the past few weeks, too. Very good.
DF Jose Maria Gimenez, 7-- Now looks to be the first-choice partner for Godin once again. Harshly penalised for a push in the box early on, but gave the referee a decision to make. Apart from that was aerially dominant and looked secure. Two clean sheets in two with him back in the side speaks volumes.
DF Lucas Hernandez, 7 -- Not a full back by trade but you would not know it. Slotted straight in for the injured Filipe Luis and was impressive. Understandably lacks a bit of what the Brazilian can offer in attack but never looked in any danger in defence.
MF Koke, 8 -- Much more like it. Nominally on the right-hand side of the midfield four, he looks more liberated and comfortable knowing he has Gabi and Tiago there to do most of the defensive work. Used possession well and his set piece delivery was impeccable throughout.
MF Tiago, 8 -- Amazing the difference one man can make. Always offers for the ball, breaks up play expertly and rarely wastes a pass. Denied the goal his performance deserved as his shot was cleared off the line by a defender's arm -- inconceivably the referee did not award a penalty.
MF Gabi, 7 -- Very tidy. Thrives in these kind of turgid, bitty games. Used the ball well and covered a lot of ground. A remarkable engine for a 33-year-old.
MF Angel Correa, 7 -- Still looks more of an impact player coming from the bench than as a starter. Missed a big chance one on one at 0-0 but made up for it with a wonderful chipped pass over the top for Gameiro to latch onto and double the side's lead.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 8 -- Might not have scored but did everything else. Set up Gameiro and Angel Correa for gilt-edge chances in the first period and was everywhere, frequently tracking back and winning possession in addition to creating danger.
FW Kevin Gameiro, 7 -- Missed a big chance after just two minutes but made no mistake later when played through on goal to ensure the three points were returning to the capital. Taken off with 20 to go.
MF-Yannick Carrasco (for Correa), 8 -- A very lively cameo for the final half hour. Might have been awarded a penalty when his pass struck a hand before pouncing on a defensive error and showing composure to make it 3-0 at the end.
MF-Saul (for Gameiro), NR -- Looked decent in his 20 or so minutes on the pitch, albeit the game was already sewn up by then.
MF-Thomas (for Griezmann), NR -- On for the final few minutes.
Joseph Walker covers Atletico Madrid for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @Joe_in_espana.