Griezmann, Godin star as Atletico claim impressive win vs. Sevilla
Diego Simeone won his 100th Liga game at the Vicente Calderon; a 3-1 victory over third-placed Sevilla that moves Atletico to move within two points of their opponents. Diego Godin nodded the hosts into a deserved lead five minutes before the break, but profligate finishing meant it was not until Antoine Griezmann's stunning free-kick just past the hour mark that the lead was extended. Koke put the icing on the cake with 13 minutes to go before Joaquin Correa's consolation goal.
Atleti completely outfought, outthought and outplayed their visitors and scoring three goals against Jorge Sampaoli's side is no mean feat. Griezmann's free kick was a genuine goal of the season contender, while it is always nice to see a defender crash home a header, as Godin did.
The defence will be disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet, while the forwards will be annoyed to have not scored five or six goals.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Simeone won the battle of the Argentine coaches with something to spare. Atletico's high-pressing setup ensured Sevilla could not settle into any sort of rhythm.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jan Oblak, 6 -- Had a quiet afternoon and could not be blamed for Sevilla's goal.
DF Sime Vrsaljko, NR -- Limped off injured within the opening two minutes; Simeone will be hoping it is nothing too serious.
DF Stefan Savic, 6 -- Was his usual solid self for the majority of the afternoon, especially when winning a number of headers up against Steven N'Zonzi from corners. However -- as he is prone to do -- Savic switched off was completely done by Correa for the Sevilla goal.
DF Diego Godin, 8 -- Was in the right place at right time to bury his header when Atletico needed a goal. Made a couple of important blocks and did not put a foot wrong in the defensive sense.
DF Filipe Luis, 7 -- Attacked with the freedom of the left flank for the first period and looked threatening every time he got near the Sevilla area. Brought Samir Nasri down on the edge of his own box with a silly tackle but, apart from that, looked good at the back.
MF Yannick Carrasco, 7 -- Everything but the goal. Fed Kevin Gameiro twice (but the striker could not finish), won the free kick that led to the opener and was generally a pest. Carrasco loses a point for picking up a needless booking that rules him out of next weekend's trip to Malaga.
MF Koke, 8 -- Put the result beyond doubt with a close-range finish. Was afforded time and space to dominate the middle of the park and made Sevilla pay.
MF Gabi, 7 -- Pressed N'Zonzi and Nasri out of the game, never allowing the French duo to settle.
MF Saul Niguez, 7 -- An understated performance, in which he prevented Sevilla's wing-backs from getting forward and mucked in centrally, which allowed Atleti to dominate that area.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 9 -- It looked like it was not going to be his day after he nodded wide on the stroke of half-time and then fired wide just after the restart. However, he more than made up for it with a stunner of a free kick to seal the win. Plus, his link-up play was brilliant all afternoon.
FW Kevin Gameiro, 7 -- Saw a wonderful chipped effort bounce off the bar and connected brilliantly with Griezmann on several occasions. He should have scored when through on goal but a heavy touch let him down.
DF Juanfran, 7 -- Entered the fray earlier than expected but was Mr. Reliable from the second he replaced Vrsaljko. Solid at the back, he attacked with gusto and showed great energy to set up Koke for the third.
FW Fernando Torres, 5 -- Should have scored when through one-on-one but tried to be too clever. Within 15 seconds Sevilla had the ball in the back of the net at the other end.
MF Nicolas Gaitan, NR -- Came on for the final five to help see things out and run the clock down.
Joseph Walker covers Atletico Madrid for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @Joe_in_espana.