Luis Suarez snatches winner
Luis Suarez struck a late goal to snatch a 2-1 victory for Atletico Madrid away to Alaves on Sunday and send his side two points clear of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.
Atletico had taken the lead late in the first half when Suarez teed up a deflected goal by Marcos Llorente and the task should have got easier for the visitors when Alaves defender Victor Laguardia was sent off in the second half.
But Alaves had a flurry of late chances and levelled in the 84th minute when Atleti defender Felipe diverted a cross from Joselu into his own net.
Atletico would not be undone, however, and they clinched a vital victory for their title charge when substitute Joao Felix cut the ball across the goal and Suarez pounced from less than a metre out to bundle it into the net.
On Saturday, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane praised Lucas Vazquez, Nacho Fernandez and Marco Asensio after the Spanish trio made key contributions to his side’s 2-0 home win over Celta Vigo.
Nacho, who was brought in due to the absence of captain Sergio Ramos, prevented an early Celta goal by clearing a shot from Iago Aspas off the line and Real countered immediately to open the scoring with a header from Vazquez.
“Nacho has behaved like a professional throughout his career, not just now, and is always important when he plays,” Zidane said of the defender, who was making his seventh league appearance of the campaign.
Asensio had crossed the ball to Vazquez, who later teed up the forward to score early in the second half and get his first goal of the season after struggling at the start of his second campaign since suffering a serious knee injury in July 2019. “I’m really pleased for Asensio, he had a big injury and he’s much better now and improving with every game,” said Zidane.
The Frenchman also praised Vazquez, who returned to the side earlier in the season as a back up to the injured Dani Carvajal but has kept his place as a winger since the defender’s return.
He started ahead of record signing Eden Hazard on Saturday although the Belgian came on in the second half.
“Lucas is doing so well. He’s very reliable, very focused and it was only a matter of time before he started playing like this,” Zidane said.