Two second-half goals from Antoine Griezmann, one scored directly from a corner kick, gave Atlético Madrid a 2-1 win at Real Betis on Sunday, extending their unbeaten run in LaLiga to five games.
Atlético climbed back to third in the standings on 23 points, eight behind leaders Real Madrid and two from second-placed Barcelona, who have a game in hand and host Athletic Bilbao later on Sunday. Betis are fifth on 20 points.
It was Atlético's fifth win in six away games this season, and Betis's first loss at home.
"We had lost two important points against Rayo at home midweek and we knew we had to win here today," Griezmann told Movistar Plus. "It was difficult for us at the beginning, we struggled to find our pace but we worked very well defensively."
In the first half, Atlético were dominated by the home side and failed to record a single shot on target. Betis themselves had just two half-chances with Borja Iglesias and Andrés Guardado shortly before the break. The game grew more intense in the second half and Betis had a Luiz Henrique goal ruled out by the VAR for offside in the 48th minute. Substitute Víctor Luiz saved Betis from conceding six minutes later, throwing himself in front of an Ángel Correa bullet strike that cannoned off him for a corner.
That was when Griezmann opened the scoring in the 54th minute, scoring directly from a perfectly placed corner kick past Rui Silva. The Frenchman tried to loft the ball to Saúl Ñíguez in the six-yard box but it curled past the goalkeeper and several defenders into the net.
GRIEZMANN SCORES DIRECT FROM THE CORNER pic.twitter.com/Jxmfl3mRR7— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 23, 2022
Fifteen minutes later, substitute Matheus Cunha passed to Griezmann whose right-footed shot on goal went through Silva's legs and into the bottom right corner.
A BRACE FOR GRIEZMANN pic.twitter.com/nGnbnOaULr— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) October 23, 2022
Betis rallied to score with a Nabil Fekir free kick from the edge of the box into Jan Oblak's top left corner in the 84th minute.
Nabil Fekir whips home the free kick pic.twitter.com/SW4AkY3naE— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 23, 2022
Two minutes later, Aitor Ruibal sent a sitter over the bar and, in added time, Álex Moreno wasted another golden opportunity to score the equalizer when his bullet header from the box rebounded off the bar. In the end, Atlético held firm and secured all three points.
(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; editing by Clare Fallon)