Atletico Madrid vs. Espanyol: Final score 1-0, Falcao fires Atletico past Espanyol

Denis Doyle

Despite playing the entire second half with a man advantage, Espanyol can't solve Atletico Madrid's defense and fall 1-0 thanks to a penalty kick goal from Radamel Falcao.

A first half penalty goal for Radamel Falcao was all Atletico Madrid needed as they survived playing 45 minutes a man down to end Espanyol's hot streak.

It was quite the spirited first half at the Vicente Calderón with seven yellow cards shown, a penalty, a red card and a goalkeeper getting his lipped stapled to stop bleeding.

In the 24th minute Radamel Falcao accidentally headbutted Esypanol goalkeeper Francisco Casilla in the lip as he backed up towards the keeper trying to head down the ball. After several minutes of treatment, the Espanyol physios put a staple in Casilla's lip and he continued on.

Handbags broke out in the 33rd minute after a hard challenge from behind by Atleti's Tiago on Juan Forlin. Espanyol players didn't take kindly to the challenge and some pushing and shoving broke out as the referee kept blowing his whistle in the somewhat pathetic hope that someone would listen. After things finally calmed down Tiago was shown a yellow card for the tackle while Gabi and Christian Stuani was yellow for the fracas.

Three minutes later Diego Costa rocketed through the center of the Espanyol box and was brought down right near the penalty spot by a rash tackle from Héctor Moreno. The referee awarded the penalty but didn't not send off Moreno, showing him a yellow card instead. Falcao converted the penalty, sending Casilla to the right as he buried his shot in the left corner. It's the striker's 21st league goal this season.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time in the first half, Atleti captain Gabi was sent off after picking up his second yellow card for tripping Joan Capdevila.

The second half was nowhere near as intriguing as the first half, which was a bummer. Despite the man advantage, Espanyol never really seemed likely to equalize and most of the chances of goal were made by Atletico Madrid.

Espanyol's six-match run without a loss ends while Atleti secure their hold on the second place and move closer to clinching a Champions League place for next season.

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