February 18, 2018 / 6:23 PM / 4 months ago

Soccer: Costa back on scoresheet as Atletico see off Bilbao

MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa scored his first Liga goal in six weeks to finish off a resilient Athletic Bilbao side in a 2-0 win on Sunday as they cut the gap to leaders Barcelona back to seven points.

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - February 18, 2018 Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa in action with Athletic Bilbao's Mikel San Jose REUTERS/Javier Barbancho

Diego Simeone’s side were made to fight for the points in a typically physical encounter with the Basque side but French forward Kevin Gameiro broke the visitors’ resolve in the 67th minute with a low finish into the far bottom corner.

Costa, who missed the 4-1 win at FC Copenhagen in the Europa League last 32 tiw in midweek with a knock, was denied a penalty in the first half but sealed the win with a near-post finish in the 80th after latching on to a through ball from Gameiro.

The former Chelsea striker had been sent off for jumping into the stand to celebrate with Atletico fans after netting his last league goal against Getafe on Jan. 6 and toned down his celebration this time as he had already been booked.

Atletico are second in the standings on 55 points behind Barca, who have 62 after beating Eibar 2-0 away on Saturday. Fourth-placed champions Real Madrid, who are 20 points adrift of top spot on 42, visit Real Betis later on Sunday.

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - February 18, 2018 Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa REUTERS/Javier Barbancho

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris

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