Luis Suarez scored again as Atletico Madrid moved six points clear at the top of LaLiga with just 12 games left.
Suarez now has 18 goals in the domestic competition, only the best mate he left behind at Barcelona, Lionel Messi, has scored more. And the league is very much Atletico’s to lose with Barcelona and Real Madrid now relying on Diego Simeone’s side collapsing in the run-in.
Atletico made all the early noise and Felipe headed on to the post although he had been offside when the ball was played. But Athletic Bilbao’s slow start was deceiving and on 21 minutes, hardly without raising their voices, they were in front.
Atletico Madrid striker Luis Suarez scores from the penalty spot to put his side ahead
Suarez slotted the ball home from 12 yards six minutes after the break and it was the winner
Suarez turns away to celebrate after scoring a spot-kick against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday
Suarez is joined by his team-mates to celebrate going 2-1 up in the LaLiga encounter
Inaki Williams ran between centre-backs Mario Hermoso and Felipe and crossed for Iker Muniain who bundled a shot past Jan Oblak. He struck it with his standing foot but not hitting it cleanly seemed to help it past the Slovenian keeper.
This was the 10th time in the last 11 games that Atletico had conceded in a game – not great from a team that conceded just six goals in the first 12 games of the season.
Yannick Carrasco led Atletico’s attempts to get back into the game but his two shots from outside the area were both comfortably saved by Unai Simon. Just as it seemed Athletic would make it to the break in front Marcos Llorente headed Atletico level.
Marcos Llorente equalised for the hosts in stoppage time at the end of the first half
Llorente celebrates scoring Atletico’s opening goal with team-mate Thomas Lemar
Thomas Lemar crossed from the left and Llorente rose to nod past Simon. The Athletic players were not happy about two minutes being added on to the first period but the hosts had made the most of the referee Jesus Gil’s generosity.
There was more generosity at the restart when Athletic centre back Unai Nunez dangled out a leg as Suarez turned him in the area. The Uruguayan forward’s ankle was tapped and when he went down the penalty was given.
He picked himself up to send it past Simon – 2-1 and now 18 goals for the season for Suarez.
Athletic Bilbao forward Iker Muniain celebrates after opening the scoring in the 21st minute
Muniain opened the scoring in the league clash at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday
Muniain celebrates with his Bilbao team-mates after they putting the visiting side ahead
Atletico’s top scorer then crossed deep for the unmarked Carrasco but instead of trusting himself with a headed finish from some way out he tried to take the ball down on his chest. His control went long and the chance was gone.
Suarez was taken off with 20 minutes left as Simeone looked to hold what he had. The forward didn’t look too happy and neither would Atletico supporters have been. Atletico have conceded in the last five minutes of their last three games. They had now invited the visitors on to them.
Jet-heeled Llorente was still a threat and he raced clear on to Angel Correa’s pass but his pull back came to nothing. Nunez had the injury-time chance but he headed straight at Oblak and Atletico held on.
They are six points clear of Barcelona, and eight points clear of Real Madrid. If they hold their nerve and Suarez keeps scoring it’s hard to see them being stopped.
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