MADRID – A tenacious Atletico Madrid managed to overcome Levante’s staunch resistance to earn a 1-0 La Liga win, extending its home winning streak to six matches on Sunday.
Atletico extended its unbeaten La Liga run to 16 league matches on the strength of a penalty kick successfully converted by France forward Antoine Griezmann.
The home side was eager to win and thus try to keep pace with standings leader Barcelona, who was set to take on Eibar later in the day.
Montenegro center back Stefan Savic had a chance to give Atletico Madrid the lead with a header in the first minute, and an electric Griezmann also tried to score repeatedly, but all efforts were smothered by Levante’s Spanish goalkeeper Oier Olazabal.
Making his starting-lineup debut of the 2018/2019 season, Spanish winger Victor Machin Perez, best known as Vitolo, proved to be a headache for Levante down the left side.
Vitolo provided the assist which enabled Spain midfielder Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion to score early on, only for the video assistant referee to overrule the move due to a previous foul.
Vitolo also tried his luck with a shot that was blocked just before the break.
With the match resumed, Atletico picked up from where it had left off, as Koke squandered yet another scoring chance after connecting with a pass by Vitolo.
Shortly before the one hour mark, Levante was made to pay the price for a handball inside the area when referee Eduardo Prieto awarded Atletico a penalty.
This time, Griezmann did not disappoint from the 12-yard spot to give Atletico the lead for good, notching his sixth goal in five league games.
After the win, second-placed Atletico provisionally cut Barcelona’s lead to two points, while Levante holds the 11th spot with 22 points, pending the rest of the matchday.