Atletico Madrid defeated Real Betis 2-1 on Sunday thanks to a brace from the reinvigorated Antoine Griezmann, one of which came directly from a corner.
After a dull first half, the game picked up steam in the second as the hosts disallowed a goal, and Griezmann maintained his stellar play by scoring twice.
Finally, in the 84th minute, Nabil Fekir scored a goal for Betis, bringing the game to a tight conclusion.
However, Diego Simeone’s team held on to win, moving up to third, while Betis are still in fifth place.
In his team’s previous two games, Griezmann scored the game-winning goal against Athletic Bilbao and assisted Alvaro Morata in achieving a goal. Then, he spectacularly broke the scoreless tie in the 54th minute.
Despite Betis defender German Pezzella’s best attempts, the French striker, who just made his loan transfer from Barcelona to Atletico permanent, whipped in a corner that missed Saul’s head and dipped in at the far post.
Griezmann quickly scored the second goal after Matheus Cunha, a replacement, set him up. He squeaked the shot past Rui Silva at the near post, who might have done more to stop it.
Griezmann told Movistar, “I tried to put (the corner) in with a tight angle, hard, and in the end, there was a little bit of luck too.
“I told the referee I was thrilled since I had never scored from a corner.
“I’m trying to advance and assist the squad in any way I can. Defensive work while scoring goals and giving assists. I’ll make an effort to continue.
– Climbing the ranks -Griezmann began the season as a substitute as Atletico Madrid attempted to get around a required appearance provision in the loan arrangement with Barcelona before the two sides came to a permanent deal; he has 147 goals for the team.
Griezmann has surpassed Paco Campos, who scored 146 goals in the 1940s, to rank third all-time among Atletico players. He is just 25 goals away from tying Luis Aragones’ club record.
In a lackluster first half, Betis’ Luis Henrique missed a shot from a distance around the halfway point. Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak stopped shots from Borja Iglesias and an Andres Guardado free-kick.
In the second half, things changed dramatically. Griezmann scored twice before Henrique had an early goal disallowed for offside against Iglesias in the buildup.
When the ball fell to Juan Cruz in the area, Betis could have grabbed a goal back, but he fired wildly over, and Fekir’s delicious free kick from the outside of the box gave his team a chance to recover.
In stoppage time, Reinildo Mandava was fouled by William Carvalho, and Atletico survived a penalty claim against him for handball just after Alex Moreno hit Oblak’s crossbar with a header.
A late goal from Gonzalo Verdu helped bottom-of-the-table Elche earn a point in an earlier 2-2 draw against Espanyol.
Pere Milla’s beautiful header for the visitors gave them the lead, but Javi Puado equalized, and former Barcelona striker Martin Braithwaite gave Espanyol the lead.
Verdu’s goal in the 82nd minute earned Jorge Almiron’s team a point, but they are still winless through their first 11 games and have only four points.
Barcelona will play Athletic Bilbao later on Sunday to put further pressure on league-leading Real Madrid, who defeated Sevilla on Saturday.