Atlético Madrid vs. Villarreal: Final score 1-0, Raúl Garcia keeps Atlético in first place

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

It was not the most impressive performance, but Atlético Madrid got three points and remained at the top of La Liga.

Atlético Madrid were not particularly impressive on Saturday, but sometimes it doesn't matter how you look as long as you win, and win they did. Raúl Garcia's header in the first half was enough for Atléti to defeat Villarreal 1-0 and remain at the top of the table in Spain.

In the 14th minute, Raúl Garcia scored his 9th goal of the season and gave the home side a 1-0 lead. Garcia took advantage of some extremely poor marking in the box by Villarreal, finding a ton of space and heading Koke's corner kick past Sergio Asenjo.

The remainder of the half saw Villarreal look good in possession but they were incapable of doing anything with it. Atléti were happy to defend and push forward when the opportunity presented itself, but they weren't particularly dangerous after the goal either.

The Yellow Submarine continued to look the better and more aggressive side in the second half but the attack was lacking in the final third. Diego Simone was less than impressed with his team's play and he used three substitutions through the middle of the half to good effect as the addition of Adrián, Thiago and Sosa helped Atléti wrestle back possession and finally put Villarreal under pressure.

In the 90th minute, Toby Alderweireld nearly put the ball in his own net as he attempted to clear out a cross from the left wing. Alderweireld's redirect went right past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but rolled just wide of the far post.

In the end it wasn't impressive, but it was enough as Atléti's strong defense did the job and helped ensure that Los Colchoneros will stay on top of La Liga with just six rounds left to play.

Atlético Madrid: Courtois, Filipe Luis, Godin, Alderweireld, Juanfran, Suárez, Koke, Rodriguez (Thiago 57'), Diego (Sosa 70'), Raúl Garcia, David Villa (Adrián 61')

Goals: Garcia (14')

Villarreal: Asenjo, Martinez, Jokić, Pantić, Paulista, Pina, Cani (Gómez 82'), Trigueros (Jonathan 69'), Bruno, Perbet, Angel (Aquino 63')

Goals: None

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