Feb 24, 2013 at 6pm UK at ​Vicente Calderon Stadium
AtleticoAtletico Madrid
1-0
Espanyol
Falcao (38' pen.)
Tiago (33'), Gabi (34'), Turan (56'), Courtois (90')
Gabi (45')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Forlin (6'), Casilla (14'), Stuani (34'), Moreno (37'), Colotto (58'), Longo (79'), Sánchez (90')

Live Commentary: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Espanyol - as it happened

Atletico Madrid star Radamel Falcao celebrates his goal against Deportivo on December 9, 2012
© AP Photos
Sports Mole brings you live commentary of Sunday's La Liga clash at the Vicente Calderon as Atletico Madrid record a 1-0 win over Espanyol.

Atletico Madrid welcomed Espanyol to the Vicente Calderon on Sunday sitting just one point above third-placed Real Madrid in the La Liga table.

A tight opening period was decided by just the single goal, with Radamel Falcao converting from the spot after 38 minutes.

Both sides had chances in the second half, but neither could make the breakthrough as Atletico held on for a vital three points.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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5.52pmEvening all! Our penultimate La Liga live commentary of the weekend comes from the Spanish capital as Atletico Madrid welcome the form team in La Liga, Espanyol, to Madrid. Atletico remain in third position in the table with 14 matches to play, but they are now just one point clear of Jose Mourinho's side following Real's win over Deportivo yesterday.

5.54pmEspanyol, meanwhile, have been an entirely different side since Javier Aguirre took charge. They are the form team in La Liga having taken 16 points from their last six matches to move into 13th position in the table. They are now 11 points clear of the relegation zone, which will surely be enough to keep them out of trouble.

5.56pmIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Atletico have just shaded it with two wins to Espanyol’s one in the last five matches. Espanyol’s most recent success came with a 4-1 win on their own patch in December 2011, but they have lost both of their previous two meetings with Diego Simeone’s side.

5.58pmTEAMS:

ATLETICO: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Luis; Tiago, Gabi, Koke; Turan, Falcao, Costa

ESPANYOL: Casilla; Colotto, Moreno, Capdevila, Forlin; Simao, Verdu, Victor, Lopez; Garcia, Stuani


0 minHere we go then. Just a quick note on the main team news. The home side recall Diego Costa alongside Radamel Falcao in attack, while Arda Turan also starts. Espanyol, meanwhile, recall Christian Stuani in attack alongside Sergio Garcia. The away side get the action underway in Madrid. This is arguably the most fascinating clash of the weekend.

2 minLooking back to November, Espanyol were bottom of the table. Oh how times have changed. They have won four of their last five in the league to move 11 clear of the drop zone. However, this evening they are up against a side that is enjoying an incredible season. Atletico were, however, knocked out of the Europa League to Rubin Kazan last Thursday.

4 minAtletico also no longer have a healthy gap over Real Madrid, with just one point between the capital rivals. Early chance for the away side as Colotto is felled by Miranda outside the penalty area. The resulting free kick is taken by Simao, but his effort smashes straight into the wall.

6 minIt must be said that there is a tremendous atmosphere inside this stadium this evening. The referee has been called into action on a number of occasions in the early stages, however, as the challenges continue to fly in from both sides. This is a real test for both teams. Who will emerge? I can see a draw in this one.

8 minAs mentioned, Atletico were knocked out of the Europa League in midweek, but they have made nine changes from that particular match. Falcao secured a 1-0 win in Russia, but the Spanish outfit were beaten 2-0 by Rubin Kazan in the first leg. It is Espanyol, meanwhile, that have made the better start to this match.

10 minForlin becomes the first player to have his name taken for a challenge on Falcao. That is his 11th yellow card of the season. Let's hope that we can keep all 22 players on the pitch this evening. That does seem unlikely as the challenges continue to fly in from both sides.

12 minAtletico really are entering a tough period with Sevilla to come in the Copa del Rey semi-finals on Wednesday before they face Malaga away next weekend. You just get the feeling that they need to pick up three points this evening. However, Espanyol have lost just one of their last 11 matches.

14 minHalf-chance for the home side to create a shooting opportunity as Koke feeds a searching cross into the penalty area, but the header from Falcao never had enough power to really trouble the goalkeeper. Meanwhile, it appears that Diego Costa could have a problem here, with the Argentine struggling to run in the early stages of the match.

16 minA quick word on Espanyol midfielder Verdu, who is out of contract at the end of the season. The Spaniard has scored seven goals from midfield this season, with a host of clubs understood to be in the running. I would be surprised if he did not arrive at a top club in the summer. No disrespect to Espanyol of course. Decent pressure from the home side in the last couple of moments.

18 minControversy here as Casilla comes a long way from his goal before fouling Costa, but the referee awards the Espanyol goalkeeper only a yellow card. Why on earth is he coming that far out?! The resulting free kick is taken by Gabi, but Godin can only head over from the resulting cross. Espanyol have got away with one there.

20 minSlightly scrappy period of the match in the last couple of moments with both sides guilty of losing possession in the middle of the park. Atletico do look the side more likely to open the scoring, however, as the first period continues to gather pace. But we still await the first real chance of the match.

22 minHalf-chance for the away side as Sergio Garcia strikes an effort from outside the box, but it was always moving wide of the post. Another attack comes down the other end as Juanfran whips a low cross into the box, but Moreno is on hand to clear. A reminder that Atletico have won all 12 of their home league fixtures this season.

24 minThere has also only been four sides that have scored against Atletico at home this season, which is an indication of the task facing Espanyol this evening. Turan wants a free kick just outside the penalty area as he hits the deck, but the referee is not interested once more.

26 minOne-way traffic at the moment with the home side dominating the possession in the final third. Juanfran is involved down the right once more as he fires a high cross into the box, but Casilla is out to collect. Victor Sanchez attempts to break down the other end, but Tiago fells the Spaniard in his prime.

28 minThe referee has been called into action on a number of occasions in the last few minutes as the challenges continue to fly in from both sides. In fairness, it has not been that type of match, but there is a spice to this game, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Little over 15 minutes of the half remaining.

30 minSlight stoppage in play as Casilla receives some treatment following a clash with Falcao. However, both players are deemed fit to continue. The whistles from the home support suggest that they do not have too much sympathy for the away goalkeeper! Finally the action is back underway.

32 minNot too much to report in the last couple of moments with that stoppage in play just slowing proceedings in the match. We have not seen too much from the away side in terms of an attacking threat in this first period, but they are comfortable in dealing with the Atletico threat. Just about 13 minutes of the first period remaining.

34 minThe scrappy period of the match continues as Gabi hits Simao with a dangerous challenge. The early stages promised a host of goals, but it is the away supporters that are making most of the noise with their side comfortable on the pitch. This game is just so crucial to Atletico's hopes of finishing in the top two.

36 minCHANCE! Glorious chance for the home side as Miranda meets a free kick from Koke, but he can only head his effort straight at the goalkeeper. Just about the clearest opportunity to open the scoring. Still Espanyol quell the threat in the latter stages of the first period.

37 minGood grief it has all kicked off here with both sets of players involved in a scuffle in the middle of the park. It is Tiago with the challenge, but the Atletico midfielder receives a yellow card for a challenge on Victor. Meanwhile, Gabi and Stuani also receive yellow cards for their roles. Anyone for football now?!

37 minPENALTY! The home side are awarded a penalty as Moreno fells Costa in the penalty area. Atletico want a red card, but the referee books the defender. The letter of the law says that he simply has to go. But the referee has taken a different view.

38 minGOAL! Atletico 1-0 Espanyol (Falcao)

39 minFalcao scores, of course he does. It is about as cool as you like from the Colombian as he slips his penalty into the bottom corner much to the delight of the home supporters. Could that be the turning point in this match?

41 minThe underlying ill-feeling in this match continues as Simao barges into the back of Juanfran. Espanyol have now received 110 yellow cards this season, which is the worst record in the division by some distance. The away side just need to settle things down in the latter stages of the half.

43 minHalf-chance for the away side to level the scores as Simao drives into the penalty area, but he decides to take an extra touch at the vital moment and suddenly the chance is gone. Little over two minutes of the first period remaining.

45 minThat opening goal has just settled everyone down inside the stadium. Another opportunity arrives as Costa finds Falcao in the box, but the Colombian just cannot make contact at the vital moment. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional four minutes at the end of the half.

45 min+3Half-chance for the home side to add their second of the match as Koke finds Falcao at the near post, but his header is just pushed away by Casilla at the vital moment. Another opportunity arrives moments later as Costa meets a cross, but Victor Sanchez comes across to make a fine block. Espanyol really need the half-time break in order to regroup.

45 min+4RED CARD! Good grief! The home side are reduced to 10 men in the latter stages of the first period as Gabi is sent packing following his second yellow card. It was a nothing challenge on Simao.

45 min+4HALF-TIME: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Espanyol

6.51pmWell, it was going all so well for the home side. A penalty from Falcao handed Atletico the lead after 38 minutes, but they have been reduced to 10 men on the stroke of the interval with Gabi given his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card.

6.55pmLet's take a look at some statistics from the first period. The home side have dominated possession with 63%, while they have had four attempts to Espanyol's one. That goal from Falcao was his 21st league goal of the season. However, that red card has handed the away side a route back in.

6.59pmWhat about the benches for this match? The home side have a host of attacking options with Adrian Lopez, Mario Suarez and Cristian Rodriguez. Meanwhile, Espanyol have the likes of Samuele Longo, Martin petrov and Christian Alfonso. There are certainly goals in that life.

7.03pmJust a reminder that following the completion of this match we have action from Seville as Real Betis welcome Malaga. In terms of this one, Atletico would move four points clear of third-placed Real Madrid as it stands, while Espanyol would remain in 13th.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. No changes for either team at the interval which is perhaps quite surprising. Let's see whether we can keep 21 players on the pitch in the second period. The home side get the half underway.

48 minThe early tensions rise once more as Moreno challenges Falcao with what seemed like an elbow, but the referee is not interested in taking the matter further. Strong start from the home side to this half as Koke strikes an effort from distance, but it was always moving wide of the post.

50 minYou just get the feeling that the next goal in this match - if there indeed is one - could have a huge say on the final result. The away side attempt to force just that as Garcia strikes an effort from close range, but it was always moving wide of the post, before Courtois is forced to come a long way to clear a Lopez cross moments later.

52 minMeanwhile, the away side make an early change in this half as Longo replaces Forlin, who had already been booked in the first period. The referee could be looking to level things up here, Aguirre has taken that opportunity away. Longo certainly has the ability to influence proceedings in this match.

54 minAnother well-worked corner from the home side comes close to their second, but this time Casilla is on hand to claim. Espanyol launch a counter attack down the other end as Capdevilla comes forward from defence, but Miranda is across to clear the danger.

56 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for the home side to add a second as Costa advances into the penalty area before finding Tiago, but Colotto is across to make a fine challenge at the vital moment. That could have been curtains. Espanyol are riding their luck at the moment.

58 minThe pressure continues from the home side as Tiago and Costa both have efforts from outside the box, but Colotto blocks the first before Casilla turns the second wide of the post. The resulting corner also causes concern, but eventually Longo is allowed to carry forward.

60 minTuran becomes the latest player to have his name taken for a horror challenge on Lopez. There really is underlying ill-feeling in this match. Right, we have just about 30 minutes of football to play and the home side remain 1-0 ahead. Can Espanyol force something in the latter stages?

62 minAtletico had probably hoped to tie this match up early in order to prepare for their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Sevilla on Wednesday, but Espanyol have certainly not read the script. The referee continues to be involved, meanwhile, as he awards Colotto a yellow for a challenge on Costa.

64 minNot too much to report in the last few minutes with neither side really threatening to add to their tally. The onus is on Espanyol to attack, but they have not really come close to levelling, in the first period or the second. The likes of Simao and Garcia just have not featured.

66 minThe away side attempt to force the issue as Longo fires a low cross into the box towards Garcia, but Miranda is across to clear at the vital moment. Slightly better from Espanyol, but they have failed to make their man advantage count. Just about 25 minutes of football remaining.

68 minFinally an effort comes from the away side as Garcia strikes from outside the box, but it was always moving wide of the post. Meanwhile, Aguirre makes another change as former Bolton Wanderers midfielder Martin Petrov replaces Simao.

70 minDecent work from Verdu as the Espanyol midfielder dances past two challenges before striking an effort towards goal, but Courtois was on hand to make the save. The Atletico goalkeeper is caught out moments later by a high cross, but Miranda is on hand to clear under pressure from Garcia. Much better from Espanyol in the last couple of moments.

72 minMeanwhile, the home side make their first change of the match as Koke is replaced by Mario Suarez. It is a surprise that he has kept both strikers on the pitch. Little under 20 minutes of football remaining, with the home side leading 1-0. But you just get the sense that there will be late drama here.

74 minHalf-chance for the home side to put this match beyond doubt as Falcao whips a dangerous cross into the box, but Casilla is on hand to make the save. Another opportunity arrives from a free kick, but it comes to nothing. Not too many clear chances for either side in the last few moments.

76 minCosta continues to bully the Espanyol defence with his pace and power causing all sorts of problems. All that is missing from his performance is a goal. Slightly low-key period to the match in the last few moments with Atletico comfortable in possession of the ball. Not too much longer remaining.

78 minEspanyol continue to play into Atletico's hands as they give away a host of free kicks in the opposing half. I suspect that the home side will apply every trick in the book in order to waste time in the latter stages. The performance was not important this evening. It was just about the three points.

80 minCosta is again involved for the home side as he collects possession outside the box before striking towards the top corner, but it was always moving wide of the post. Espanyol attempt to counter down the other end with Garcia, but the Spaniard simply cannot find a teammate.

83 minHalf-chance for Falcao to put this match beyond doubt as he drives into the Espanyol penalty area, but his final touch is just too heavy, with Casilla out to collect. The away side attempt to create a chance down the other end as Petrov shoots from distance, but it was always moving wide of the post.

85 minMeanwhile, the home side make their second change of the match as Turan is replaced by Rodriguez. Atletico will just look to close the game out in the final five minutes of this match. A reminder that following this clash we have action from Real Betis against Malaga.

88 minDecent pressure from Espanyol as they continue to fire high crosses into the penalty area, but Miranda and Godin are comfortable in dealing with the danger. A strike does come from Garcia, but Courtois is comfortable in dealing with the danger. Little over two minutes of normal time remaining as Atletico continue to defend their lines.

90 minThe home side make their third and final change of the match as Raul Garcia replaces Costa, who has been sensational this evening. The supporters just love the Brazilian. Falcao comes close to making it 2-0 moments later, but his chipped effort is saved by Casilla.

90 min+2The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional four minutes of football and we are into the second of those. Longo gets himself involved in an altercation with Miranda, but the referee is not interested in taking action. It appears that the home side will hang on.

90 min+4Espanyol continue to put high balls into the penalty area, but the final chance may have gone as Petrov fires over the crossbar from close range. Little over one minute of football remaining in what has been an ill-tempered affair.

90 min+4FULL-TIME: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Espanyol

7.55pmSo there we have it. Falcao scores the only goal as Atletico pick up a 1-0 win over Espanyol. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and remain with us for action from Betis against Malaga. Until then!

Radamel Falcao
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6Levante11001013
7Valencia11001013
8Atletico MadridAtletico10102201
9GironaGirona10102201
10Espanyol10101101
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12Athletic Bilbao10100001
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17Malaga100101-10
18Villarreal100101-10
19Real Betis100102-20
20Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo100103-30