MADRID (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid beat Real Betis 2-0 at home on Saturday in La Liga thanks to goals from Marcos Llorente and Luis Suarez after coach Diego Simeone made a double changeover in the first half.
Llorente put Atletico ahead at the start of the second half, as he broke through the penalty area from the left flank and slammed the ball into the post near a narrow angle.
Betis played well in the first half and controlled the ball. However, Atletico dominated the match after Simeone Lucas Torreira and Thomas Lemar pulled Yannick Carrasco and Hector Herrera in the second half, immediately giving the team more speed and goals in midfield.
Visitors were reduced to 10 men with 20 minutes remaining when Martin Montoya was sent off to pull Carrasco. The referee initially gave the defender a reservation but changed it to a red card immediately after reviewing the VAR.
Suárez then scored in stoppage time after working well with left-back Renan Lodi to clinch a remedial victory for Atletico after their 4-0 win over Bayern Munich on Wednesday in the Champions League.
“Betis made things very difficult for us and we fought in the first half, but we went out in the second half with the same mentality and we were lucky to score very quickly and that gave us oxygen,” said Jorente.
“Simeone believes in us and we believe in him. We also believe in ourselves and build a very strong union. We made that clear today and achieved a victory that we really need.”
The win put Atletico second in the standings with 11 points from five matches, two points behind Real Madrid, who beat Barcelona 3-1 earlier on Saturday in the “El Clasico”.
Meanwhile, Betis, led by Manuel Pellegrini, have lost four of their last five league matches and are 10th in the standings with nine points.
Elsewhere, Seville suffered their second consecutive league loss as they lost 1–0 at home to Eibar.
Yulen Lopetegui’s side have now failed to score in their last three matches in all competitions and looked limp and tired after a 0-0 away draw against Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday.
(Prepared by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnage, Toby Davis)