Atletico beat Sevilla to stay in front in Spain
Jorge "Koke" Resurrecciun, Gabi Fernandez and substitute forward Jackson Martinez scored a goal each as Atletico Madrid defeated Sevilla 3-0 yesterday to win their second game in a row and keep pace with Barcelona atop the Spanish league.
Atletico and Barcelona are among the only four teams to have won both matches to start the season, along with Celta Vigo and surprising Basque club Eibar.
Celta and Eibar finished the second round atop the standings with six points and the same goal difference. Each team scored five goals and conceded one. Celta defeated Rayo Vallecano 3-0 on Saturday, while Eibar beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 in their home opener yesterday.
Real Madrid rebounded from a scoreless draw against newly promoted Sporting Gijon with a 5-0 rout of Real Betis in their first match at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, while Barcelona edged Malaga 1-0 at the Camp Nou yesterday.
After struggling in their opener at home, Atletico picked up a convincing win at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in Sevilla, showing that they have the strength to be considered an early contender for the title.
"We are improving little by little," Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said. "Possibly, this was one of the best matches we've played in a very long time."
Koke opened the scoring with a strike from near the penalty spot in the 35th minute; Gabi added to the lead with a shot that deflected off the back of a defender in the 78th; and Martinez came off the bench to seal the win with a well-placed left-footed shot from the top of the area in the 85th. It was the first Spanish league goal for the Colombian forward, who transferred from FC Porto.
"We are thrilled to win in such a difficult environment," Koke said. "Sevilla is one of our main rivals."