The France international netted for the first time in over three months in La Liga as Diego Simeone’s men secured a much-needed victory
Saul Niguez scored for the second straight LaLiga match and Antoine Griezmann ended his top-flight goal drought as Atletico Madrid battled to a much-needed 2-0 away victory over Eibar.
After Atletico had struggled in a quiet first half, Saul headed in with their first attempt on target, although he appeared to be in an offside position when Filipe Luis delivered the cross.
Griezmann then sealed victory late on, striking for the first time in 10 league matches after an excellent one-two with substitute Kevin Gameiro – a goal that ended his worst top-flight drought for the club.
Atletico had lost three of their last four away matches without scoring, but this victory ended their woes on the road and moved them up into fourth position, within nine points of leaders Real Madrid having played a game more.
Eighth-placed Eibar lost for only the second time at home this season but are now winless in four LaLiga matches as their season begins to lose momentum.
Eibar made a solid start, with Florian Lejeune’s header kept out by Atletico goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya at the second attempt.
Adrian had a low shot saved by Moya after neat work from Ander Capa to create the opportunity, before referee Jesus Gil Manzano rejected the hosts’ ambitious penalty claim when Sime Vrsaljko handled.
Atletico were struggling to make an impression as an attacking force and Griezmann dragged a shot wide from their best first-half opportunity.
Eibar could have gone into the break ahead, Sergi Enrich’s control letting him down from an excellent shooting position after Stefan Savic had deflected Pedro Leon’s cross into his path.
But it was the visitors who scored nine minutes into the second half when a short corner led to Filipe Luis’ left-wing cross being deftly headed in by Saul, who appeared to have drifted beyond the home defence.
A buoyed Saul promptly had another attempt from just outside the penalty area saved by Eibar keeper Yoel.
But the hosts were not conceding defeat lightly, Fran Rico somehow unable to turn in substitute Bebe’s corner at the far post before Leon fired an excellent chance wide having been afforded space in the box.
It was game over, though, with 16 minutes left on the clock. Griezmann started the move himself by driving at Eibar’s defence, finding Gameiro before getting on the end of his team-mate’s cut-back to score his seventh league goal of the campaign from close range.
That was Griezmann’s first top-flight goal since October 2 and Atletico could have netted a third, Gameiro denied by both Yoel and the side-netting with a late chance.
Eibar almost grabbed a late consolation, but Jose Gimenez hacked Nano’s effort off the line as Atletico celebrated a vital win on the road.
Eibar 0-1 Atletico Madrid | Saul Niguez 54′
Eibar 0-2 Atletico Madrid | Antoine Griezmann 74′