Atletico Madrid will take a slender 1-0 lead into their Copa Del Rey quarter final second leg against Athletic after a hard fought win at the Vicente Calderon.
Diego Godin’s first-half header was enough to give Diego Simeone’s side victory as they returned to winning ways after the disappointing 1-1 draw with Sevilla on Sunday.
Ander Herrera was presented with a good chance to open the scoring for the visitors after just 11 minutes but after arriving late on the edge of the box to meet a cut-back he lashed his effort high and wide of the target.
But with just minutes of the first half remaining Atletico took the lead when Godin powered in a header from Koke’s exceptional and wicked cross into the six-yard box.
Merkel Susaeta came on for the visitors in the second half as they looked to create more in the final third but it was Atletico who looked more likely to find the net, with Diego Costa cutting a frustrated figure having gone six games without a goal.
Athletic started to dictate the play in the final 10 minutes or so but they failed to find a crucial away goal and have a 1-0 deficit to overturn at the San Mames.
11’ CHANCE – Herrera is presented with a good chance to give his side the lead but after arriving late in the box he lashes his shot high and wide of the target.
41’ GOAL – As they so often do Atletico Madrid take the lead just before the break as Godin powers home Koke’s wicked cross into the box from the right wing.
62’ BOTTLED DECISION? – Having picked up a yellow card in the first half Costa is lucky to stay on the pitch after diving to imply contact with Andoni Iraola. However the referee keeps his red card in his pocket.
87’ LUCKY - Iago Herrerin is somewhat fortunate not to be punished for a fumble from a Juanfran cross into the box, almost dropping the ball at the feet of Arda Turan.
90'+1 CHANCE – Toby Alderweireld is afforded a great chance to put the gloss on Atletico’s win, getting to Koke’s cross at the near post, but he can't quite get enough of a contact on it to guide it goalwards.
Atletico Madrid are still unbeaten at the Vicente Calderon this season, with Athletic Bilbao also unbeaten at the San Mames.
Diego Costa has yet to score in 2014, having played six games.
Is Diego Costa’s form a concern? The Brazil-born striker has yet to find the net in 2014 and has now gone six games without a goal. Is his goalscoring streak leveling out? Whatever it is it’s having an effect on Atletico, who look less of an attacking force in recent weeks.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Koke (Atletico Madrid): Having been given a different role to fulfill for Atletico Koke excelled in a deeper position, dictating the pace of the play and laying on the only goal of the game for Godin. He has a wicked delivery and can create something from anywhere.
Atletico Madrid: Courtois 6, Juanfran 6, Alderweireld 6, Godin 7, Filipe 6, Koke 8, Guilavogui 5, Garcia 6, Adrian 7, Rodriguez 6, Costa 5. Subs: Gabi 6, Turan 5.
Athletic Bilbao: Herrerin 6, Iraola 5, Gurpegi 5, Laporte 6, Balenziaga 6, Iturraspe 5, Rico 6, Herrera 5, De Marcos 7, Gomez 6, Sola 5. Subs: Susaeta 5, Aduriz 4.