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Soccer PICS: Atletico go fourth with win at Betis

December 23, 2019 00:11 IST

Images from the football matches played across Europe on Sunday

Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez in action with Real Betis' Aissa Mandi during their La Liga match at Estadio Benito Villamarin in Seville, Spain, on Sunday

IMAGE: Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez in action with Real Betis' Aissa Mandi during their La Liga match at Estadio Benito Villamarin in Seville, Spain, on Sunday . Photograph: Marcelo del Pozo/Reuters

Atletico Madrid moved back into the top four in La Liga with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Real Betis on Sunday as they recorded back-to-back league victories for the first time since the beginning of September.

Substitute Angel Correa put Atletico in front in the 58th minute, chasing down defender Alex Moreno and winning the ball back before rounding goalkeeper Joel Robles and passing into the net.

 

Striker Alvaro Morata doubled Atletico's lead in the 84th minute by turning in a cross from Correa with a back-heeled finish to get a confidence-boosting goal after hitting the post in the first half and having a strike ruled out for offside.

Betis hit the woodwork in either half and finally scored in added time when Marc Bartra bundled the ball into the net from a crowded penalty area.

The win followed last week's 2-0 success over Osasuna and was the first time Diego Simeone's had strung two victories together in domestic competition since they won their opening three games of the campaign.

Atletico are fourth on 32 points after 18 games while Betis are 13th on 23.

Atalanta hand rudderless Milan five-goal thrashing

Atalanta players celebrate after their win over AC Milan on Sunday

IMAGE: Atalanta players celebrate after their win over AC Milan on Sunday. Photograph: Atalanta BC/Twitter

Alejandro Gomez scored a stunning individual goal and Josip Ilicic notched a second-half brace as Atalanta thrashed a rudderless AC Milan 5-0 on Sunday, handing their opponents their joint-heaviest Serie A defeat.

Former Milan player Mario Pasalic rubbed further salt into their wounds by also scoring. It was the fourth time Milan have lost a Serie A match by a five-goal margin and the first since 1998.

Milan are tenth in the table with 21 points while Atalanta climbed to fifth with 31 as they capped an outstanding year which saw them qualify for the Champions League for the first time and reach the last 16.

"It's been a fantastic year which has been crowned by today's performance," said Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini.

His opposite number Stefano Pioli said that Milan "approached the match in the wrong way and you just can't afford to do that against this team. This cannot be the real Milan."

"Today's performance was seriously insufficient," added Pioli, Milan's second coach of the season after his predecessor Marco Giampaolo was fired after only seven games. "I expected a reaction from us in the second half but it didn't come, in fact we were even worse."

Gomez opened the scoring in the 10th minute, nutmegging a hapless Andrea Conti before firing a right-foot shot past Gianluigi Donnarumma in the tenth minute.

Pasalic, who clipped the crossbar before halftime, diverted Robin Gonsens' cross-shot into the net in the 61st minute, although he refused to celebrate his goal, then Ilicic scored twice in an nine-minute spell to turn it into a humiliation for Milan as their defence fell apart.

First, the Slovenia forward collected a pass on the right, outfoxed his marker and drilled his shot past Donnarumma in the 63rd minute, then he curled a delightful effort into the top corner from outside the area.

Davide Calabria cleared a shot off the line but there was still more to come as Luis Muriel ran onto a through ball, outran a Milan defender, evaded Donnarumma as the goalkeeper rushed out of his area and added the fifth.

The referee spared Milan further punishment by mercifully adding on only one minute of stoppage time.

Returning Balotelli scores but Brescia denied by late goal

Brescia striker Mario Balotelli replied to being dropped for the second time this season by coming off the bench to score on Sunday but his team had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Parma in Serie A after the home side snatched a late equaliser.

Brescia coach Eugenio Corini preferred Alfredo Donnarumma in attack in his starting line-up but he went off just past the hour with a muscle problem and was replaced by Balotelli.

The former Inter Milan, AC Milan and Manchester City forward made the most of his chance as he took advantage of poor marking to put Brescia ahead in the 72nd minute with his fourth goal of the season.

Brescia were on the brink of a win which would have taken them out of the relegation zone before Parma substitute Alberto Grassi headed the equaliser in the second minute of added time.

Brescia stayed 18th in the 20-team table with 14 points, one behind Sampdoria, while Parma are seventh with 25.

Bologna won 3-2 at Lecce in the other afternoon kickoff although they had to survive a late fightback by the hosts.

Riccardo Orsolini put Sinisa Mihajlovic's side ahead from close range two minutes before halftime, Roberto Soriano turned in the second after Rodrigo Palacio pulled the ball back in the 56th minute and Orsolini added another 10 minutes later.

Khouma Babacar volleyed one back with five minutes left and Diego Farias further reduced the arrears in stoppage time but it was too late for the hosts.

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