Mo­rata win­ner sends Real top

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

REAL MADRID took ad­van­tage of Atletico Madrid’s first de­feat of the sea­son at Sevilla to move to the top of La Liga as Al­varo Mo­rata struck a late win­ner to se­cure a 2-1 win over Ath­letic Bil­bao yes­ter­day.

Steven N’Zonzi struck Sevilla’s win­ner 17 min­utes from time to seal a 10 win at a soggy Sanchez Pizjuan.

Real lead Sevilla by a point and Barcelona and Vil­lar­real by two at the top of the ta­ble.

Atletico, who started the week­end top, slip to fifth, three points back on their city ri­vals.

Madrid couldn’t have hoped for a bet­ter start when En­ric Sa­borit’s slip al­lowed Isco to tee up Karim Ben­zema for a sim­ple fin­ish af­ter just seven min­utes.

How­ever, Real’s de­fen­sive de­fi­cien­cies sur­faced once more when Ath­letic lev­elled in scrappy fash­ion as Javier Eraso’s tenac­ity won the ball in­side the Madrid box for Merino to slot home.

Cris­tiano Ron­aldo’s poor early sea­son form con­tin­ued and there were even jeers for the Por­tuguese when shot straight at Gorka Iraizoz with Isco and Ben­zema beg­ging for a cut-back for a tap in.

Real were handed a life­line when Inaki Wil­liams blazed over with just Key­lor Navas to beat early in the sec­ond pe­riod.

Real boss Zine­dine Zi­dane turned to Mo­rata off the bench 15 min­utes from time. And the Span­ish in­ter­na­tional en­sured Real didn’t drop points at home for a third con­sec­u­tive La Liga game as he bun­dled Gareth Bale’s low cross home at the near post.

Ath­letic still had the chance to snatch a point, but once again Wil­liams mis­fired when clean through on goal to the re­lief of the Bern­abeu.

Atletico were also left to rue not tak­ing their chances in the first-half as on-loan Atletico striker Lu­ciano Vi­etto came back to haunt his par­ent club.

A hero of Sevilla’s three con­sec­u­tive Europa League tri­umphs, Kevin Gameiro re­ceived a mixed re­cep­tion on his re­turn to An­dalu­sia, but he should have put Atletico in front when he shot straight at Ser­gio Rico on 16 min­utes.

An­gel Cor­rea had an even bet­ter op­por­tu­nity for Diego Sime­one’s men six min­utes be­fore the break when he scam­pered in be­hind the Sevilla de­fence but failed to even hit the tar­get.

The in-form Samir Nasri smashed against the post be­fore Jan Oblak made a re­mark­able save to prevent Vi­tolo open­ing the scor­ing on the vol­ley from point-blank range as Sevilla started the sec­ond-half strongly.

Vi­etto en­dured a woe­ful de­but cam­paign at Atletico last sea­son af­ter a move from Vil­lar­real and was used as a makeweight in the deal that brought Gameiro to Atletico in the sum­mer.

How­ever, he clipped a fine ball over an un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally static Atletico Real Madrid for­ward Al­varo Mo­rata ( cen­tre) scores dur­ing the Span­ish league match against Ath­letic Bil­bao at the San­ti­ago Bern­abeu Sta­dium in Madrid yes­ter­day. de­fence for N’Zonzi to run through and slot coolly past Oblak.

“It is an im­por­tant win at home against such a strong side like Atletico,” N’Zonzi told BeIN Sports Spain.

Yet, the French­man re­fused to ac­cept Sevilla are now se­ri­ous ti­tle con­tenders along­side Atletico, Barca and Real Madrid.

“It is still very early and it is a long sea­son.”

Atletico’s al­ready dif­fi­cult task was made even tougher when Koke was sent-off for a sec­ond book­ing 13 min­utes from time.

Vil­lar­real re­main just a point be­hind Sevilla thanks to Cedric Bakambu’s in­jury time win­ner against Las Pal­mas.

Kevin-Prince Boateng’s stun­ning volleyed ef­fort fired the vis­i­tors into a half­time lead, but Ni­cola San­sone lev­elled from the penalty spot be­fore Bakambu snatched the points at the death.

Ear­lier, for­mer Liver­pool striker Iago As­pas struck twice as Celta Vigo smashed De­portivo la Coruna 4-1 in the Gali­cian derby to move into the top half of the ta­ble. – AFP

– AFPPIX

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