Three second half goals helped Athletic Bilbao cruise past second place Atletico Madrid
The first reaction to Athletic Bilbao's 3-0 demolition of Atletico Madrid is that it really could have been much worse. If you haven't already jumped on the "This Thibaut Courtois kid might be the real deal" bandwagon, there's still plenty of room. The on-loan goalkeeper was outstanding and prevented his Atletico side from suffering a much more embarrassing defeat.
For Atletico Bilbao it's a second straight positive result and the second straight time game in which they've put together a very solid performance for at least 45 minutes. Considering how bad things have been for Marcelo Bielsa's team this season, perhaps they're finally starting to turn it around. It's way too late to make a run at a European spot (well, probably) but the concern about possibly entering the relegation battle should end if they can keep playing like they did today, especially in the second half.
The aforementioned Thibaut Courtois kept Athletic off the board in the first half making several outstanding saves, but even the greatest goalkeeper in the world couldn't stop the chances that Athletic generated in the second half.
In the 50th minute Mikel San José got loose in front of the Atletico goal and headed in a cross from Markel Susaeta that put the home side ahead at last 1-0.
Atletico held firm for another 27 minutes but eventually were worn down by the rain of shots from Athletic. In the 77th minute Anders placed a perfect pass on the feet of Susaeta who sprinted between two Athletic defenders before putting the ball past Courtois to make it 2-0.
Los Leones added a third in the 84th minute when Aritz Aduriz sent a ball across the Colchoneros box that found Óscar De Marcos trailing the play. The midfielder blasted a shot past Courtois, securing the full three points for Athletic.
The win moves Athletic Bilbao back up to 12th place while the loss allows Atletico Madrid's city rivals to creep within five points for second spot in the league.