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A Titanic Effort

Atletico Madrid beat Espanyol with a penalty from Falcao and have still not given a point to anyone at the Calderon. Diego Costa revolutionized the game. The rojiblancos played with ten entire second half after the expulsion of Gabi.

Atletico Madrid 1 - Espanyol 0

Atletico Madrid: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Filipe, Tiago, Gabi, Koke (Mario, 67 '), Arda (Cristian Rodriguez, 80'), Diego Costa (Raul Garcia, 86 ') and Falcao.

Espanyol: Casila, Javi Lopez, Colotto, Hector Moreno, Capdevila, Victor Sanchez, Forlín (Longo, 50 '), Simao (Petrov, 65'), Verdú and Sergio García Stuani.

Min.37. 1-0: Falcao (penalty)

Referee: Clos Gómez showed yellow cards to Tiago (32 '), Arda (55') for Atletico and Forlin (6 '), Casilla (13'), Stuani (32 '), Hector Moreno (36'), Colotto (57 ' ), Longo (78 ') and Capdevila (89') for the visitors. Gabi was sent off for two yellows (32 'and 45').

It was an important game ahead of the trip to Seville to play the round of the Copa del Rey semifinals, Simeone's men faced a difficult task to get three points at home with the visit of Espanyol.

The first few minutes began with a dominance of attacking down the left wing with Filipe very active in joining the attack whitish Arda linked up well with the full back. With the hallmarks that have led Simeone’s side to second place in the championship, Atletico gradually took control. The usual intensity was there from the rojiblancos and the best example was an action in which saw Diego Costa steel the ball on the edge of the area, and did well to beat his men, forcing the Catlan keeper to coming racing out of his area where he brough down the Brazilian forward. The goalkeeper was booked and the resulting free kick was just over as the clock struck the 14th minute.

The game began to be played in the manner that most suited Espanyol. A rocky team since the arrival of Javier Aguirre to the bench that has seen his side climb the league and had picked up 13 of the last 15 possible points. The Catalans were comfortable with the ball away from the area. That was how the game was panning out until until a long ball was flicked on by Falcao and Diego Costa raced through the defence and found himself one on one with the keeper. The goalkeeper Hector Moreno pulled at the Brazilian giving away a penalty that Clos Gomez did not hesitate to call. Falcao sent the keeper the wrong way to record his twenty-first goal of the season.

With the first half drawing to a close, Gabi committed a foul 60 meters from courtois area and Clos Gomez showed him a second yellow just 10 seconds before the break, it was a disappointing end to the first half but despite the inferiority Simeone continued to rely on the same men after the break, while Aguirre soon made offensive changes. Espanyol believed that they could get something positive from a stadium where no one has managed to this season. Atletico looked comfortable living without the ball and looked dangerous on the counter attack.

The second half passed without many real chances, the visitors tried fruitlessly to break down a well organised Atletico and in the end it was the home side who looked the more likely to add to their tally. Atletico defended well in the final stages to keep a clean sheet and pick up three important points to secure second place in the table before a return to cup action in the semifinals against Sevilla.