Atletico's 1-0 Win: Morata Ends Away Drought
|Alvaro Morata of Atletico Madrid celebrates 0-1 during the LaLiga EA Sports match between Granada v Atletico Madrid at the Nuevo Los Carmenes Stadium on January 22, 2024 in Granada Spain(Image-Getty)
Alvaro Morata's second-half header secured Atletico Madrid a 1-0 victory against Granada, propelling them to fourth place in LaLiga. Despite an uninspiring performance, this marked Atletico's first away win since October, breaking a streak of four consecutive losses on the road. Diego Simeone's team reached 41 points, now trailing Barcelona by three points in the third position after 20 games. Girona leads with 52 points, one ahead of second-placed Real Madrid, having played one more game than their rivals.
The deadlock broke in the 55th minute when Antoine Griezmann delivered a cross for Morata to head past goalkeeper Augusto Batalla. Initially ruled offside, a VAR check confirmed Morata was marginally onside, granting the goal. Five minutes later, Saul Niguez replicated the feat, but this time the VAR upheld the referee's decision despite a close call.
Refereeing controversies persisted, with Granada's players frustrated by the non-award of a penalty for a seemingly clear handball by Jose Maria Gimenez inside the area. Simeone acknowledged the close calls, stating, "The handball and Saul's goal are really close calls... In the end, there are many complex plays in a football match."
Amid renewed discussions about VAR's effectiveness, Simeone expressed his belief in its importance while acknowledging occasional lapses. Griezmann hit the post in the 88th minute, and a close-range miss by substitute Angel Correa denied Atletico a more comfortable win.