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Jan, 28, 2006

Atletico continue revival with win over Depor

MADRID, Jan 28 (Reuters) - A rejuvenated Atletico Madrid provided further evidence they have turned the corner under new coach Pepe Murcia as they clinched a 3-2 win over Deportivo Coruna at the Calderon on Saturday.

A classy double from Argentine forward Maxi Rodriguez and a spectacular Antonio Lopez free kick gave Atletico a second successive win and only their third home triumph of the season.

The result left Atletico 11th in the standings while Depor remain sixth.

'We mustn't get carried away, we've only won two games in a row and we need to work extra hard for next week's match against Barcelona,' Atletico boss Murcia told a news conference.

Earlier, struggling Athletic Bilbao scraped their fourth win of the season as a Pablo Orbaiz penalty gave them a much-needed 1-0 victory at home to Bernd Schuster's Getafe.

Orbaiz converted from the spot 16 minutes from time after fellow midfielder Fran Yeste was pushed in the back by defender Anibal Matellan as he waited for the ball in the area.

The win lifted the Basque side, who have never been out of the top flight, a point clear of the relegation zone although all their immediate rivals have yet to play this weekend.

Getafe, who thrashed Espanyol 5-0 last weekend but have now suffered seven away defeats in a row, remain ninth and are a comfortable 10 points clear of the drop zone.

Leaders Barcelona, who slipped to their first defeat in 25 games when they lost to Real Zaragoza in the King's Cup on Thursday, play relegation-threatened Real Mallorca on Sunday.

GRITTY DEPOR

Atletico had their work cut out against Joaquin Caparros's gritty, hard-running Deportivo side who had lost just once on the road this season.

But with Ariel Ibagaza at the helm they drew the sting from the visitors and took the lead 12 minutes before halftime when the Argentine unlocked Depor's defence with a clever through pass to Martin Petrov on the left.

The Bulgarian winger clipped the ball across the face of goal and Maxi Rodriguez beat keeper Jose Molina with a volley at the far post.

No sooner had the second half started than Depor were back on level terms, a free kick from substitute Ruben bouncing past keeper Leo Franco and squeezing inside the far post after some poor defending by the Atletico back four.

The home side recovered the lead after 54 minutes with a spectacular free kick from Antonio Lopez as the Spanish international's shot ballooned over the wall and dipped sharply into the net beyond helpless Depor keeper Jose Molina.

Their celebrations were cut short just four minutes later when former Atletico player Joan Capdevila equalised with a diving header after another loss of concentration in defence.

However, Petrov and Maxi combined once more to give Atletico a deserved win nine minutes from time when the Argentine steered the ball past Molina with an acrobatic, improvised volley after the Bulgarian had whipped in a cross from the left.

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