Goals from Joao Felix and Álvaro Morata gave Atlético Madrid a much-needed La Liga victory as they secured a 2-0 victory over Elche on Thursday.
There were three red cards in the match: Elche captain Gonzalo Verdu was sacked at the end of the first half and Mario Hermoso was sent off for the hosts early in the second.
João Felix and Morata then struck to seal the win, and Elche substitute Domingos Quina also saw a stoppage-time red as the Rojiblancos scored three points at the Metropolitano.
After a three-game losing streak before the World Cup break at mid-season, Diego Simeone’s team will return to victory with relief.
Atlético had few chances in the first half and it was telling that even sending off Verdu with VAR for a no-ball foul on Morata shortly before half-time did little to help them.
3. Atlético’s Joao Felix has scored in each of his last three La Liga games (four goals in total). This is his longest hitting streak in the tournament. Inspired. pic.twitter.com/LQxakkLAhY
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 29, 2022
Their men advantage was also temporary, with Hermoso giving orders to go after two warnings, the second for a reckless foul at the Helibelton Palacios after the break.
But Joao Felix’s close-range header, followed by Antoine Griezmann’s short cross on the rebound, breathed new life into the hosts and allowed them to play with more freedom.
It turned into a second goal, this time after Morata gracefully beat the right flank, turning the defense inside out in the 74th minute, and effectively put the game to bed with a deflected shot that sent Edgar Badia in and out.
Elche’s attempts to react caused their discipline to deteriorate again, with the late replacement Quin also being sacked for a quick double caution, the second after a clumsy foul at Mora as Atlético were heading for victory.