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Atletico see off Huesca to stay in control of La Liga title race

FOOTBALL By Reuters | April 23rd 2021
Football - La Liga Santander - Atletico Madrid v Huesca - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - April 22, 2021. Atletico Madrid's Moussa Dembele in action with Huesca's Jorge Pulido. [REUTERS/Sergio Perez]

Atletico Madrid stayed in control of La Liga's title race by beating struggling Huesca 2-0 at home on Thursday with goals in each half by Angel Correa and Yannick Carrasco.

Correa scored for the third time in two games to give Atletico the lead shortly before halftime, the Argentine dancing through the Huesca defence and getting the help of a deflection to take his shot into the net.

Huesca had won two of their last three matches and stayed in the game, even having a couple of chances to level, until Marcos Llorente pounced on a loose ball and squared for Carrasco to knock it into the empty net 10 minutes from time.

Atletico top the standings on 73 points after 32 games, moving three clear of Real Madrid who beat Cadiz 3-0 on Wednesday. Huesca are 18th on 27.

Diego Simeone's side had experienced a recent wobble since returning from international duty that threatened to derail their title bid but have benefited from playing back-to-back home games against struggling sides.

They trounced basement club Eibar 5-0 but this was a sterner test and they almost fell behind in the third minute, when keeper Jan Oblak miraculously repelled a shot from Huesca defender Dimitris Siovas from point-blank range.

Visiting keeper Alvaro Fernandez made an outstanding double save at the other end, thwarting Carrasco and blocking a second shot from Saul Niguez with his face.

Correa showed his new-found confidence to give Atletico the lead and calm their nerves but it took a decisive late tackle from Renan Lodi to prevent Sandro Ramirez levelling.

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Barely a minute later, Atletico countered and a botched clearance allowed Llorente to grab the ball and find Carrasco to make the game safe.

"In some moments you have to attack and in others you have to defend. The important thing is that we kept a clean sheet, which means we worked well defensively," said Carrasco.

The Belgian batted away questions about Atletico's involvement in the breakaway European Super League, which the club agreed to join before withdrawing on Wednesday.

"We're just focusing on our jobs, the club is the one that has to deal with those things. We're just concentrating on each game," he said. 

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