Atletico Madrid warmed up for their Champions League clash with Bayern Munich in midweek by picking up their sixth straight win in La Liga with a 1-0 victory at Valencia.
Saturday’s victory at the Mestalla, earned with a late own goal from the unfortunate Toni Lato, moved them level on points with leaders Real Sociedad, who have played a game more and will be in action on Sunday against Villarreal.
Diego Simeone’s team were missing Luis Suarez, still waiting to return from a positive test for coronavirus, and Diego Costa, who has been diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis.
They also had Joao Felix resting on the bench but with Thomas Lemar in inspired form they peppered Jaume Domenech’s goal.
The Valencia keeper made several fine saves from the Frenchman and also blocked an effort from Angel Correa to frustrate Atletico.
But the home side were ultimately beaten by an own goal on 79 minutes.
Substitute Yannick Carrasco got to the byline and crossed from the left where Valencia fullback Lato, running onto the ball, turned it into his own net.
“Luck plays a part,” said Carrasco of the breakthrough. “We are just happy to have come here and won.
“The game against Bayern Munich will be another difficult one but we have a big squad and we are ready for Tuesday.”
Domenech added: “We are really disappointed because we put so much into the game and I think we deserved a point from it.”