Atletico Madrid made it two wins out of two as Vitolo scored in the second half to secure a hard-fought 1-0 La Liga victory at Leganes on Sunday.
Atletico had never won in Spain’s top-flight at their fellow Madrid outfit’s Butarque stadium but Vitolo’s strike ensured they continued their impressive early-season form.
New signing Joao Felix created the goal, picking up the ball on the right-hand side, driving at the Leganes backline before feeding the former Sevilla forward, who produced a composed 71st-minute left-footed finish to put Diego Simeone’s side ahead.
After a first-half largely devoid of goalscoring opportunities, both sides traded efforts after the break.
Saul Niguez hit the post for Atletico, while Leganes midfielder Jonathan Silva struck the crossbar with a free-kick before Atleti goalkeeper Jan Oblak produced a fine stop from Javi Eraso minutes before his side opened the scoring.
“I’m very pleased to get the win at a tough ground to play at and against a side who make life difficult for you,” Simeone told a news conference.
“We showed our intent in the first 20 minutes and I think we dominated the game. Then they improved and the match became a bit more diluted.”
Alvaro Morata wasted a glorious opening in the dying minutes that would have ensured a less nervy finish for the visitors, who remain just one of two sides, along with Sevilla, with a 100 percent league record this season.
“We needed to win and for that, we tried many things over the 90 minutes and changed the system. We wanted to improve as the game went on, we won and all good,” Simeone added.
“Leganes are a side who irritate you, there’s no space, they make the game comfortable for themselves. Yet, fortunately, we were able to change the dynamic of the game with our change of system.”
Having started the first two games of the season on the bench, goalscorer Vitolo will be hopeful of a start next time out as Atleti host Eibar on Sunday.
Simeone, though, sounded a warning to all of his top players, adding: “Players don’t start just because they do or don’t score. They start because of consistency, hard work and dedication.”