Atletico Madrid 1-0 Real Betis: Diego Costa leaves it late to give third-placed Atletico a narrow Liga home win and Champions League qualification again after Mario Hermoso is sent off
- Atletico Madrid defeated Real Betis 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday
- Diego Costa scored the winner in the 74th minute to give the hosts a narrow win
- Mario Hermoso was sent off earlier in the second half for third-placed Atletico
- Atletico ensured Champions League qualification while Betis remained in 13th
Atletico Madrid sealed Champions League qualification for the eighth consecutive season by beating Real Betis 1-0 at home on Saturday thanks to a late Diego Costa goal after having a player sent off and seeing two goals ruled out following VAR reviews.
Costa scored the only goal of the game with a scuffed header in the 74th minute, although Atletico had to wait several minutes for the referee to determine whether the ball had then hit his arm or shoulder on its way into the net.
The victory took third-placed Atletico on to 66 points after 36 games, nine ahead of fifth-placed Villarreal, and maintained coach Diego Simeone’s run of reaching Europe’s premier competition in each of his full campaigns in charge.
Angel Correa enjoys putting Atletico Madrid ahead against Betis before his effort is ruled out
Alvaro Morata has the ball in the net for the hosts before also falling victim to a VAR decision
Betis, who had already ensured their top-flight status, are 13th on 42 points.
Angel Correa had seen a goal ruled out in the first half for a handball against Marcos Llorente, and Alvaro Morata had a strike ruled out for offside, while Betis had come close to scoring through Andres Guardado and Loren Moron.
The visitors were the better side for most of the second half and striker Loren should have scored when he skipped into the area unchallenged but saw his attempted dink past Jan Oblak trickle wide of the target.
Former Tottenham and England defender Kieran Trippier feels the pain after suffering an injury
The unfortunate Trippier was forced off during a goalless first half at the Wanda Metropolitano
Atletico defender Mario Hermoso was sent off in the 57th following a straight red card for a reckless tackle, and Betis continued to dominate but could not keep their composure in front of the goal.
Instead, Atletico pounced with their weapon of choice, a set piece, as Costa got on the end of Yannick Carrasco’s lofted free kick into the area.
‘We are lucky that I scuffed it because if I’d hit the ball cleanly it would have gone wide,’ Costa said.
Striker Diego Costa breaks the deadlock in the 74th minute after Mario Hermoso is dismissed
The result saw Atletico stretch their impressive unbeaten run to 16 matches in all competitions