MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid beat Real Betis 2-0 at home on Saturday in La Liga thanks to goals from Marcos Llorente and Luis Suarez after coach Diego Simeone sprung a double change at halftime.
Llorente put Atletico in front at the start of the second half, tearing into the box from the left wing and tucking the ball inside the near post from a tight angle.
Betis had played well in the first half and dominated the ball. However, Atletico took control of the game after Simeone hauled off Lucas Torreira and Thomas Lemar for Yannick Carrasco and Hector Herrera for the second period, instantly giving the team more pace and purpose in midfield.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men with 20 minutes remaining when Martin Montoya was sent off for hauling down Carrasco. The referee initially gave the defender a booking but changed it to a straight red card after a VAR review.
Suarez then struck in stoppage time after combining well with left back Renan Lodi to clinch a therapeutic victory for Atletico after Wednesday’s 4-0 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
“Betis made things very difficult for us and we struggled in the first half but we went out in the second half with the same mentality and were lucky to score very quickly and that gave us oxygen,” said Llorente.
“Simeone believes in us and we believe in him. We also believe in ourselves and together we make a very strong union. We made that clear today and we’ve got a victory we really needed.”
The win took Atletico into second in the standings on 11 points after five games, two behind Real Madrid who beat Barcelona 3-1 earlier on Saturday in the ‘Clasico’.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Betis, meanwhile, have lost four of their last five league matches and are 10th in the table on nine points.
Elsewhere, Sevilla succumbed to a second consecutive league defeat as they went down 1-0 at home to Eibar.
Julen Lopetegui’s side have now failed to score in their last three matches in all competitions and looked stale and tired after drawing 0-0 away to Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis
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