Atletico Madrid came from behind to beat Villarreal 3-1 and move into third place in LaLiga, with Joao Felix scoring on his return from injury.

Suspended head coach Diego Simeone watched on from the stands as his players took full advantage of Getafe's 3-0 home defeat to Sevilla earlier on Sunday.

Goals from Angel Correa and Koke turned the game in Atletico's favour at the Wanda Metropolitano, cancelling out Paco Alcacer's first-half opener for the visitors.

A satisfying outing for the hosts was rounded off by a goal from Joao Felix, who found the net just 17 minutes after coming on as a substitute.

Fresh from a Champions League win over Liverpool in midweek, Atletico dominated the opening 15 minutes but were powerless to stop Alcacer's rasping half-volley from the edge of the box, the attempt flying into the net beyond Jan Oblak at full stretch.

Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo made a superb double save to keep out a fierce volley from Alvaro Morata at first, followed by Vitolo's header from the rebound.

The visitors rediscovered their composure until the 40th minute when Raul Albiol inexplicably headed the ball to the feet of Sime Vrsaljko, allowing the full-back to lift the ball towards Correa, who poked a volley under the body of Asenjo to pull the hosts level.

Atletico sent on Kieran Trippier and Joao Felix – the duo back in action after recovering from injuries - to try and exploit the gaps appearing in the Villarreal defence, with both players making an impact.

Trippier broke down the Atletico right before cutting the ball back to Correa, whose floated cross was headed home by Koke after the captain arrived unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box.

Joao Felix wrapped up the victory, albeit his drive was aided by a deflection to beat Asenjo, as the 20-year-old scored his third league goal of an up-and-down debut campaign in Spain.

Diego Simeone hailed Atletico Madrid's improved performance after they ended a five-game winless streak by beating Granada 1-0 and paid tribute to the club's supporters for instilling his players with "responsibility".

Atletico moved up to fourth place in LaLiga after Angel Correa's sixth-minute goal settled an entertaining contest at Wanda Metropolitano, where Simeone's men put a torrid run of results behind them.

The victory was the Rojiblanco's first in six games in all competitions and came courtesy of an energetic first-half performance that impressed Simeone.

"In recent league games we could not respond accordingly to what we needed to do," Simeone told Movistar.

"There was a lot of weight on this match, but the players solved it and I am very happy about it.

"The supporters' impact is extraordinary; they fill you with responsibility, with the need to get involved.

"We are working and we are improving little by little."

Simeone saw Koke deliver a fine display in behind his front two, the attacking midfielder making his first appearance since he sustained a hamstring injury in December.

Koke provided the assist for Correa's goal and linked up well with Saul Niguez throughout a game in which a recently goal-shy Atletico team attacked persistently before coming under some late pressure. 

"Yes, I am happy for him and the team," Simeone said of Koke.

"We were very agile in the first 25 minutes, we started very well, with pressure and presence in the opponents' half, but then we backed off and they began to grow.

"They [Granada] are very good, they showed it, it comes from progressing to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey and they gave us a fight until the end.

"When you need to win, the minutes run slower."

Atletico Madrid's five-game winless run came to a halt as Angel Correa's early goal secured a 1-0 victory over Granada at Wanda Metropolitano.

With attacking talents Diego Costa and Joao Felix out injured, Diego Simeone started with Vitolo alongside Correa in a two-pronged attack and was rewarded when the latter scored his fourth LaLiga goal of the season after six minutes. 

Atletico went into the match having failed to score in their previous three top-flight outings but delivered a performance full of urgency and guile.

The poor form that hampered the Rojiblanco in the last month threatened to resurface as Granada rallied in the last 20 minutes of an entertaining contest but Simeone saw his charges dig in when it mattered to make sure of a sorely needed three points.

Atletico's goal drought ended when Koke, back in the team after almost two months out with a hamstring injury, played Correa into the box and the 24-year-old rifled a low shot past Aaron Escandell from 12 yards.

Vitolo dragged a shot narrowly wide from 20 yards as the hosts kept the pressure on and he had the ball in the net after 25 minutes only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.

Saul Niguez deserved a goal nine minutes into the second half when he met Correa's cross with a volley at the far post but Escandell was equal to it.

Yannick Carrasco replaced Renan Lodi and tested Escandell with a low drive from just inside the box before a spell of Granada pressure saw Ramon Azeez fire disappointingly wide when well placed. 

Having controlled the game for over an hour the home side's grip faltered and Jan Oblak had to be alert to save Roberto Soldado's close-range volley, the Atletico goalkeeper getting down smartly to parry it away.

Carrasco won a free-kick on the edge of the box seven minutes from time but Saul curled his shot just wide of the target as Atletico failed to add gloss to a satisfying result.

 

What does it mean? Huge relief for Simeone

A run of three winless LaLiga matches can be reframed as four wins in seven and Atletico are up to fourth in the table, three points behind third-placed Getafe.

Better call Saul

There were strong performances from Thomas Partey and Koke in the Atletico midfield but Saul was notably involved in most of their best play and his quick thinking at a throw-in started the move that led to the winner.

Big miss from Azeez

Granada were never going to get many opportunities on goal in this game and when they did they were let down by Azeez, who snatched at his shot when a cool head was required.

What's next?

Granada are in action on Wednesday as they take on Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey ahead of Atletico's difficult trip to Valencia in LaLiga on Friday.

Felipe's first LaLiga goal helped in-form Atletico Madrid to a 2-1 home win over Levante.

Three goals during a manic five-minute spell in the first half settled the match but did not typify an otherwise tepid encounter at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Angel Correa scored for the second straight game and while Roger Marti's ninth league goal of the season pulled Levante level, Felipe settled it with a powerful header.

Atletico now have four consecutive victories across all competitions and moved back to within five points of city rivals Real Madrid, while the result ended a three-match winning streak for Levante.

The hosts almost scored in the first minute on Saturday when Correa's shot was saved, Joao Felix and Saul Niguez then unable to convert follow-up attempts.

But Atletico opened the scoring after 13 minutes when Thomas Partey found Kieran Trippier on the right and the defender's volleyed cross was converted by Correa's superb first-time finish.

Roger replied three minutes later when his volley deflected in off the arm of Alvaro Morata after he had latched on to Jose Campana's free-kick.

Atletico swiftly got back in front, though, Renan Lodi whipping in a left-wing delivery that Felipe impressively headed in from 12 yards out, his effort coming just 109 seconds after Roger's strike.

Correa's shot forced a good one-handed saved from Aitor Fernandez shortly before the break and the Levante goalkeeper also kept out an effort from Joao Felix just before the hour mark.

Joao Felix also fired wide from the edge of the area late on but Atletico were still able to hold on for victory in relative comfort, albeit Jan Oblak had to make two late saves to deny Enis Bardhi.

 

What does it mean? Atletico's poor run behind them

Atletico have won four straight games for the first time this season and have clearly overcome their dreadful run that saw them taste victory in just one of the previous eight.

Four straight wins and eight goals have Diego Simeone's men in better shape, but there remains plenty of work to do before the Madrid derby on February 1.

Felipe fabulous for Atletico

As well as scoring his first LaLiga goal, Felipe tested goalkeeper Fernandez with another aerial effort and recorded game-high totals for interceptions (4) and clearances (8).

Joao Felix frustrated once again

The Portuguese forward came into the match having played 572 minutes in LaLiga without scoring or providing an assist. Despite Simeone giving him 87 minutes, that dreadful run continued as he mustered only one shot on target and did not create a single opportunity for his team-mates.

What's next?

Atletico will take momentum into their meeting with Barcelona in the Supercopa de Espana in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, while Levante do not play until a Copa del Rey tie with Real Jaen on January 12.

Angel Correa and Alvaro Morata scored second-half goals as Atletico Madrid ended a run of five successive away draws in LaLiga, recording a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Real Betis.

Diego Simeone's decision to send on Correa for the ineffectual Thomas Lemar early in the second half reaped a rapid return, the forward finding the net just 97 seconds after his introduction off the bench.

After blocking a clearance from the dithering Alex Moreno, the Argentina international reacted quickly to seize on the loose ball and then round goalkeeper Joel Robles, allowing him to convert into an unguarded net.

Correa's classy finish put his side on course for a first triumph on the road for Atletico since a 2-0 result against Real Mallorca way back on September 25.

He also had a hand in their second, too, as it was his low cross that allowed Morata, who had a header correctly ruled out for offside during the first half at Benito Villamarin, to turn the ball in at the front post.

Betis did get a consolation in added time, Marc Bartra converting from inside the penalty area with the aid of a deflection, the goal given after a lengthy VAR consultation that infuriated an already raucous home crowd.

Both teams had hit the woodwork in the first half, a combination of Robles and a post denying a rising drive from Morata after the forward had been put clean through on goal by Joao Felix.

At the other end, Atletico needed the help of the crossbar before the break to keep out a header from Betis defender Zouhair Feddal, with the visitors second best before Correa's intervention on proceedings.

Sergio Canales saw a low shot deflect wide off an upright when Betis only trailed by one, before Morata tucked in his ninth of the season to put his team out of reach, even with Bartra's late, late strike.


What does it mean? Atletico clinging on in title race

It may not even be the halfway stage of the season, but it is clear Atletico can ill-afford to lose any more ground in the title race if they are to remain serious contenders.

The gap to the summit still sits at a rather sizeable seven points, but at least back-to-back wins prior to the mid-season break have Simeone's squad sitting in the top four.

Angel makes festive impact

Not even Simeone can have expected his first change to leave such a mark on the contest.

Correa immediately provided some much-needed energy in attack, with his determination to close down Moreno leading to the crucial opener.

Lemar the fall guy again

The Frenchman's withdrawal was hardly a surprise; he has completed 90 minutes just once in LaLiga in this campaign.

Lemar had just 15 total touches and failed to create a chance or have a shot during his time on the pitch.

Key Opta facts

- Angel Correa is the only substitute to both score and assist in the same LaLiga game this season. 
- Only Getafe's Angel Rodriguez (12) has scored more goals than Alvaro Morata (9) this season in all competitions among Spanish players from the top five European leagues. 
- Marc Bartra has scored in back-to-back LaLiga games for the first time. He has as many league goals in his last two appearances as he managed in his previous 63. 
- Atletico have kept a clean sheet in the first half in eight of their nine LaLiga away games, but they have only scored in one of those fixtures.
-  No other player has been caught offside more often than Morata in the top five European leagues this season (23).

What's next?

Atletico will be at home to Levante on January 4 when the league season resumes early in 2020, while Betis are on the road to Deportivo Alaves the following day.

Angel Correa and Alvaro Morata scored second-half goals as Atletico Madrid ended a run of five successive away draws in LaLiga, recording a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Real Betis.

Diego Simeone's decision to send on Correa for the ineffectual Thomas Lemar early in the second half reaped a rapid return, the forward finding the net just 97 seconds after his introduction off the bench.

After blocking a clearance from the dithering Alex Moreno, the Argentina international reacted quickly to seize on the loose ball and then round goalkeeper Joel Robles, allowing him to convert into an unguarded net.

Correa's classy finish put his side on course for a first triumph on the road for Atletico since a 2-0 result against Real Mallorca way back on September 25.

He also had a hand in their second, too, as it was his low cross that allowed Morata, who had a header correctly ruled out for offside during the first half at Benito Villamarin, to turn the ball in at the front post.

Betis did get a late consolation in added time, Marc Bartra converting from inside the penalty area with the aid of a deflection, the goal given after a lengthy VAR consultation that infuriated an already raucous home crowd.

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