Goal contender of the season as Luis Suarez nets superb goal for Atletico Madrid

In what could well be considered one of the goals of the season in Europe, Luis Suarez scored from distance for Atletico Madrid in La Liga on Saturday.

The striker has lifted the mood at Atletico Madrid after his phenomenal long-range strike helped Atleti to a 3-0 victory over Osasuna ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League tiebreaker against Manchester United.

Joao Felix smashed his side in a third-minute lead in Pamplona before driving a superb pass down the field for Suarez to chase, the Uruguayan firing in a second before Osasuna keeper Sergio Herrera could come back.

Angel Correa netted a late third to wrap up a convincing victory for Atletico as they climb back into the top four and head into the knockout stages against United with a spring in their step.

The only blot on a satisfying afternoon for Diego Simeone was an injury to centre-back Jose Gimenez, who had to be substituted at half-time and could now miss the encounter with Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes this week.

Real Madrid put their loss to Paris Saint-Germain behind them on Saturday by beating Alaves 3-0 in La Liga as Marco Asensio’s superb goal took Carlo Ancelotti’s side seven points clear at the top of the rank.

But the result flattered Madrid, who struggled to break down Alaves until Asensio lashed out from distance at the Santiago Bernabeu, where disgruntled fans had whistled a goalless halftime goal.

“We agreed with the fans,” said Carlo Ancelotti. “Nobody in the dressing room was happy with the way we played in the first half.”

Asensio’s goal opened the floodgates as Vinicius Junior completed Karim Benzema’s reduction before Benzema converted a late penalty after Rodrygo was knocked down in the box.

Sevilla can once again close the gap to four points by winning at Espanyol on Sunday, but Madrid remain strong favorites to reclaim the Spanish title, despite their declining form.

Real Madrid had scored just one goal in their previous four games – another stunning Asensio against Granada – and there was particular criticism after the passive performance against PSG last week resulted in a 1-0 defeat. 0 in Paris.

There was again frustration against Alaves and Ancelotti will be hoping Vincius’ first goal in seven games and Benzema’s first since returning from injury can now reignite the spark.

“We needed this game,” Ancelotti said.

They were whistled off at half-time after a weary, error-strewn performance that could have left Alaves ahead had Jason capitalized on Casemiro kicking the ball into the penalty area.

Madrid started the second half with a renewed intention to play faster, but their efforts were marred by nervousness as the fans around them grew increasingly agitated.

Vinicius created the best opening when he rounded the outside to see his shot saved by Fernando Pacheco, with Benzema following hacked off the line by Florian Lejeune.

There were still moments of neglect and Asensio was mocked when his backpass was read by Pere Pons, who rounded Thibaut Courtois but failed to head in from the corner.

The reaction apparently stuck with Asensio because he celebrated his goal with a gesture to suggest he wanted more support. It was a brilliant strike, with the Spaniard collecting Benzema on the right, clipping his left foot and unleashing a dipping effort into the far corner.

Benzema almost made two on a reduction from Vinicius, his corner finish dribbling against the post. Moments later, the same combination reversed, with Benzema providing Vinicius, who this time slotted in.

Rodrygo, as a substitute, was then tripped up by Lejeune, allowing Benzema to score three goals in injury time.

Atletico didn’t wait so long against Osasuna.

Barcelona are just three points behind Atletico with two games less while Villarreal look increasingly like strong contenders for Champions League qualification after claiming an impressive 4-1 win at Granada, Arnaut Danjuma scoring a hat-trick.

Unai Emery’s side, who host Juventus at La Ceramica on Tuesday, are also three points clear of Atletico, having played the same number of games as Diego Simeone’s side.

(With AFP inputs)

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