MX23RW : Sunday, July 22 03:22:18

La Liga

Dec 16, 2017 at 7.45pm UK
AtleticoAtletico Madrid
1-0
AlavesAlaves
Torres (74')
Thomas (18'), Savic (34'), Godin (67')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Maripan (35'), Pina (55'), Duarte (61'), Alexis (88')

Game Menu

Live Commentary: AtleticoAtletico Madrid 1-0 AlavesAlaves

Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the La Liga clash between Atletico Madrid and Alaves, which ended 1-0.

Atletico Madrid moved into second position in La Liga courtesy of a 1-0 win over Alaves on Saturday night.

Valencia's 2-1 defeat at Eibar meant that a victory for Atletico would move Diego Simeone's side directly behind league leaders Barcelona, and Fernando Torres came off the bench to seal all the points for the hosts.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

Evening all! Sports Mole's live La Liga coverage continues from the Wanda Metropolitano as Atletico Madrid welcome Alaves. The home side will fancy their chances of putting their 10th league win on the board tonight, but Alaves have caused the capital side some problems in their recent meetings, and are in decent form. Stay tuned for live coverage of the action!
As mentioned, Atletico have found Alaves to be tricky opponents in their recent meetings. Indeed, both league matches last season finished level – 0-0 at Alaves and 1-1 at the Vicente Calderon. Three of the last four league meetings between these two teams have actually finished level, suggesting that Diego Simeone's side will not have it all their own way on home soil tonight.
Right, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from Madrid. Both teams have had a free week to prepare for the match – any alterations from their league fixtures last weekend? Let's have a look at the two XIs that will take to the field from the onset...
TEAMS!

ATLETI: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Savic, Godin, Luis; Saul, Thomas, Gabi, Koke; Griezmann, Gameiro

ALAVES: Pacheco; Aguirregabiria, Maripan, Alexis, Duarte; Pina, Garcia; Alfonso, Burgui, Ibai; El Haddadi

Atletico boss Diego Simeone has made just one change from the team that started against Real Betis last weekend, and it comes in the final third as fit-again Antoine Griezmann replaces Angel Correa. Gabi, Koke and Thomas Partey all start in midfield, while Sime Vrsaljko keeps his position at right-back.

As for Alaves, on-loan Barcelona forward Munir El-Haddadi once again leads the line, but Bojan Krkic starts on the bench as the visitors line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Alfonso and Ibai Gomez will support Munir, while Tomas Pina and the skipper Manu Garcia line up in the middle of the park.
So there we have it. The two teams are in, and we are now just about 10 minutes from kickoff. Atletico will enter this match in third position in the table having won nine and drawn six of their 15 league matches this term. They have only scored 24 times thus far, but have conceded just seven, which is the joint-best defensive record in the league alongside Barcelona.
Atletico, who are six points behind Barcelona entering tonight's match, made it three straight league wins with a 1-0 success at Real Betis last weekend. Simeone's side are yet to suffer a league defeat in their new home, and will be looking to win their next two against Alaves and Espanyol ahead of the winter break in Spain. Kickoff is now just five minutes away here!
Alaves, meanwhile, will enter this match off the back of a successive league wins over Girona and Las Palmas. They are still in the relegation zone having collected just 12 points from their 15 matches thus far, but a win tonight would see them move level with 17th-place Deportivo La Coruna.
KICKOFF! Atletico kick things off on home soil...
... Valencia's 2-1 defeat at Eibar means that a win for Atletico here would take them into second position in the table. It is a big night for Simeone's side as they look to move directly behind Barcelona. Alaves will be looking to make things difficult for Atletico in the early exchanges here.
It must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium tonight. Atletico, as expected, have started on the front foot, with Gameiro and Griezmann looking to combine in the final third of the field. Alaves have been a little bit hurried in possession of the ball thus far here.
Not an awful lot to report in terms of chances in the early exchanges, but Atletico are in control of the ball, and Griezmann has been involved. He has just taken one in the back from Alaves captain Garcia!
Griezmann finds some space down the right before looking to deliver, but Alexis is on hand to make the clearance. Simeone is full of expression at the moment as he looks to drive his team forward, but the visitors are having a little go back at the moment. It is an open game of football here.
Griezmann feeds Luis inside the Alaves box and the left-back hits it on the half-turn, but Pina is on hand to make the block. The visitors then drive forward with Alfonso, but the attack comes to nothing. Still goalless with 10 minutes on the clock, and we are yet to see a clear chance here.
Ibai Gomez is released down the left for Alaves, and the number 11 wins a corner for his team off Thomas, who had to track back to make the clearance. The resulting corner is played to the edge of the box, but Atletico have bodies behind the ball. Twelve on the clock, and still level in Madrid.
Just a reminder that a win for Atletico would move them into second position in the table. Simeone's side have not been in full flow this season, but they are in a very strong position - still unbeaten and keeping clean sheets. It also helps to have someone like Griezmann down the other end.
CLOSE! Saul has one deflected wide of the Alaves post!
Possession for Atletico as they pass and probe in the final third of the field. Alaves have won their last two in the league, and they have the look of a team that are feeling good about themselves.
El Haddadi is extremely advanced for Alaves, and Alfonso and Ibai have not been afraid to join the on-loan Barcelona forward in the final third. Atletico are certainly in control of this football match, although they are yet to seriously threaten. Still goalless with 18 minutes on the clock here.
BOOKING! Thomas (Atletico) is booked for a foul on Burgui.
Possession for Alaves as they move the ball from left to right before Ibai delivers, but Godin is on hand to make the clearance. Alaves are giving Atletico a really good game at the moment.
SAVE! Oblak dives across to keep out a strike from Garcia!
Looking at that strike from Garcia again, Oblak did so well to hold the ball. Apart from De Gea, is there a better goalkeeper in the world than Oblak at the moment? I am not too sure that there is.
Griezmann is coming very deep at the moment as he looks to become involved in the play, but Alaves are closing the door when he goes near their penalty box. Good from the visitors here.
It must be said that this is a wonderful stadium. The fans have created such a brilliant atmosphere since the move earlier this season, and Atletico are yet to lose a league game here. Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining. Saul has come the closest for the home side in Madrid.
Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining, and Gameiro has just come close to making contact on a loose ball inside the Alaves box, only for Alexis to come from nowhere to make a fine challenge. El-Haddadi then just fails to collect a long pass from Pina down the other end of the field.
Not an awful lot to report in the last few minutes, although Atletico are still in control of the possession. Alaves will be delighted with the opening 32 minutes of this football match.
Saul shows brilliant feet in a wide position to create space, but Alaves have four, five players around the midfielder in an instant. The visitors are putting so much into this football match, and they are making a number of tactical fouls in important areas of the field.
It is clear that Simeone thinks that Alaves are getting away with a number of fouls, but the Argentine needs to be careful having already exchanged words with the referee. His team are really struggling to find the answer at the moment as Alaves impress across the park.
BOOKING! Savic (Atletico) is booked for a push on Munir.
BOOKING! Maripan (Alaves) is booked for a late challenge on Griezmann.
The referee needs to get hold of this game as both sets of players continue to fly into challenges. It would not be a surprise to see a red card tonight. Still goalless with 36 minutes on the clock.
Half-chance for Atletico as Koke meets a loose ball inside the Alaves box, but his effort is deflected straight into the arms of Pacheco. A touch fortunate for the away side there!
Munir heads wide of the Atletico post after meeting a cross from the left.
Alaves are defending deep before breaking with pace and purpose, which is forcing Atletico back. It is a tactic that is working as the visitors look to frustrate as well as cause problems.
Little under five minutes of the first period remaining, and Atletico are being frustrated by an Alaves team that have arrived this evening full of confidence. If they manage to play like this against the lesser teams in the division, they will surely escape the relegation zone.
Possession football for Atletico as they continue to pass and probe in the final third.
We are into stoppage time at the end of the first period in Madrid, with the two teams level at 0-0. Atletico have shaded the first 45 minutes, but Alaves can be delighted with their showing here.
HALF-TIME: Atletico 0-0 Alaves
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 0-0. Atletico have had a couple of good chances to take the lead, but Alaves deserve to be level at this stage of the contest. Let's hope that the match is as open and entertaining in the second as it was in the first.
BENCH WATCH! Alaves have Bojan on their bench tonight, while Santos and Medran are also available for head coach Abelardo, who will be delighted with his team's first half. As for Atletico, Simeone has attacking options in the shape of Carrasco, Correa and Fernando Torres.
STATISTICS! Atletico dominated the first-half possession with 66%, while the home side had four attempts, although just one of those was on target. Alaves, meanwhile, failed to hit the target with any of their seven attempts. Three bookings are an indication of the type of battle it has been.
RESTART! Alaves resume the action here...
... ATLETICO SUB! Correa replaces Thomas at the interval.
Griezmann misses the crossbar after finding space in a forward position. It has been a decent start to the second period from Atletico, who have clearly been given a rocket at the interval.
Alaves have just managed to take the sting out of the game with a bit of possession in the last few moments, but there is still a lot of football to be played before the evening is out here.
Burgui finds a bit of space outside the Atletico box, and his effort is deflected wide of the post. The resulting corner is delivered towards Burgui, but Godin is on hand to make the clearance.
Just a reminder that a win for Atletico would move them into second position in the table - three points behind Barcelona, who play tomorrow night. Real Madrid are a little bit out of touch with La Liga at the moment having won the Club World Cup earlier tonight!
BOOKING! Pina (Alaves) is booked for a late challenge on Griezmann.
Griezmann has a free kick just outside the away side's penalty box...
... the set piece is played short, and Alaves manage to clear their lines.
Little over 30 minutes of football remaining, and we are still waiting for the first goal of the match. Griezmann has been guilty of losing the ball in the last couple of minutes, but it is clear that he will be the one to make things happen. Gameiro has not really had a sniff thus far tonight.
You do get the feeling that there is a goal in this match, but there might just be one. Atletico are the team pressing forward, but Alaves are dangerous on the counter-attack. We are entering the stage of the match where both managers will be considering alterations. Fernando Torres anyone?!
Koke misses the post for Atletico after a strike from a wide position.
BOOKING! Duarte (Alaves) is booked for a trip on Gameiro.
ALAVES SUB! Burgui is replaced by Medran for the away side.
Quite an untidy period of the match at the moment as both teams lose possession in the final third of the field. The Atletico supporters are attempting to drive their team forward, but the visitors deserve a lot of credit for their performance tonight. Little under 25 minutes remaining here.
BOOKING! Godin (Atletico) is booked for a foul on Medran.
It just is not happening for Atletico at the moment as a flick from Griezmann is cleared. Alaves are arguably the better team at the moment as they build from a deep position.
The ball bounces around inside the Atletico post as Medran drills in a low free kick, but the offside flag is raised. Atletico are preparing to make a double change with 70 minutes on the clock here.
ATLETICO SUBS! Torres and Carrasco replace Saul and Gameiro.
Little over 15 minutes of football remaining, and we are still locked at 0-0. Atletico are not exactly peppering the away side's goal, but they are enjoying the possession. You do get the feeling that something is going to happen in the latter stages - a goal, a red card. Something like that!
As it stands, Atletico are heading for their seventh league draw of the season. The capital outfit have not lost in the league this term, but seven draws is not exactly what Simeone would have had in mind at this stage of the campaign. Something has to give in the final 15 minutes of action.
GOAL! Atletico 1-0 Alaves (Torres)
Fernando Torres! Atletico make the breakthrough in the 74th minute as the striker taps home a cross from Vrsaljko! What a massive goal that is for the home side here.
It is tough on Alaves, but Atletico have been the team pressing for a goal in the second period. As it stands, Simeone's side are moving into second position in the table behind Barcelona.
ALAVES SUB! Bojan replaces Pina for the away side.
Still more than 10 minutes of football to play in the Spanish capital, and Atletico hold a 1-0 lead. Alaves are still alive though as they break down the left and win a throw through Medran.
It is like a basketball game at the moment as both teams commit players in the final third of the field. Atletico do not have total control of this game despite their 1-0 advantage here.
ALAVES SUB! Santos replaces Ibai in the away side's final change.
Atletico just need to be a touch careful here as they continue to concede free kicks in a dangerous position. Medran delivers the latest from a deep position, but Godin is on hand to make the clearance. Little under five minutes of normal time remaining in this La Liga clash in the capital.
Possession for Atletico as we head for the final two minutes of normal time here.
BOOKING! Alexis (Alaves) is booked for a late challenge on Gabi.
We are into the first of three additional minutes at the end of the 90 here.
Alaves have the ball, but time is running out as Atletico lock down their defensive unit. It is going to be another clean sheet for Atletico, who are heading into second spot in the table.
FULL-TIME: Atletico 1-0 Alaves
So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Atletico recording a 1-0 win over Alaves to move into second position in La Liga. Simeone's side are now just three points off the league leaders Barcelona. Thanks for joining us once again. See you soon!

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La Liga Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CBarcelona38289199297093
2Atletico MadridAtletico382310558223679
3Real Madrid382210694445076
4Valencia38227965382773
5Villarreal38187135750761
6Real Betis38186146061-160
7Sevilla38177144958-958
8Getafe381510134233955
9EibarEibar38149154450-651
10GironaGirona38149155059-951
11Espanyol381213133642-649
12Real Sociedad38147176659749
13Celta Vigo381310155960-149
14AlavesAlaves38152214050-1047
15Levante381113144458-1446
16Athletic Bilbao381013154149-843
17Leganes38127193451-1743
RDeportivo La CorunaDeportivo38611213876-3829
RLas PalmasLas Palmas3857262474-5022
RMalaga3855282461-3720
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