2018-2019 Spanish Primera División
  • Álvaro Morata (30', 33')
  • Koke (62')

Morata double keeps up 10-man Atletico close to leaders Barcelona

Atletico Madrid kept up their pursuit of La Liga leaders Barcelona with an Alvaro Morata double in a 2-0 win at Real Sociedad on Sunday, despite having to play the final half-hour with 10 men after Koke was sent off.

Morata, who had scored his first goal for the club in last week's 2-0 win over Villarreal, rose to head home from close range on the half-hour mark following a corner which had been flicked on by Atleti captain Diego Godin.

Morata, who is on loan from Chelsea, used his aerial prowess again to double his side's advantage three minutes later, glancing in a free kick from Koke.

"We must win all the points possible, and hope they [Barcelona] drop some along the way," Morata said. "Once there is still a chance we will keep battling.

"We are very happy with today's result. It is a difficult place to come and win, a very tough opponent, so these are three very important points for us. Now we move on and think about the next game.

"Their goalkeeper made a great save early, then I had the luck to score twice. We won, so we are very happy. Goals at set-pieces are important, they can bring you victories sometimes, it was important for us against Juventus too."

Spain midfielder Koke earned his first yellow card late in the first half and clumsily picked up a second booking in the 62nd minute.

But Diego Simeone's side coped admirably and rarely looked like letting their lead slip.

"It was not comfortable for us, Real Sociedad started the game very well, but we began to improve in our movement of the ball and make chances," the Atletico boss said. "We were very good at the end of the first half.

"Koke's sending off changed the game we expected, we had to defend and be strong closer to our area. It was very important to win today."

"I liked that from our good play came the chances at set-pieces. We had not converted those set-pieces for a while, apart from against Juventus. Alvaro is a big player, and all big players take less time to adapt."

Atletico are second in the La Liga standings on 53 points, moving five clear of third-placed Real Madrid and closing to within seven of leaders Barcelona, who have 60 points after winning 1-0 at Real in Saturday's Clasico.

ESPN FC's Madrid correspondent Dermot Corrigan contributed to this report.

Spanish Primera División Standings

1 Barcelona 15 +23 34
2 Real Madrid 15 +21 34
3 Sevilla FC 16 +5 31
4 Real Sociedad 16 +8 27
5 Getafe 16 +8 27
6 Athletic Bilbao 16 +7 26
7 Atletico Madrid 16 +6 26
8 Valencia 16 +3 26
9 Granada 16 +3 24
10 Osasuna 16 +4 23
11 Real Betis 16 -5 22
12 Levante 16 -5 20
13 Villarreal 16 +4 19
14 Real Valladolid 16 -4 19
15 Alavés 16 -6 18
16 Eibar 16 -13 15
17 Mallorca 16 -12 14
18 Celta Vigo 16 -11 13
19 Leganes 16 -16 9
20 Espanyol 16 -20 9