Antoine Griezmann's goal after only 40 seconds was all Atletico Madrid needed to beat Malaga 1-0 and close the gap with Spanish league leader Barcelona to six points yesterday.
Griezmann was quickest to the ball after a long strike by Saul Niguez hit a defender and fell loose in the area. The France forward floated a right-footed shot over onrushing goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez for his third goal in four matches and 12th in all competitions this season.
Griezmann dedicated the goal to Nacho Barbera, an Atletico fan and teenage player who died from a heart attack last weekend during a game in eastern Spain. Griezmann held up a shirt with the last name of Barbera preceded by 'Cholo', the nickname for Atletico coach Diego Simeone.
Last-placed Malaga did little to threaten an equaliser despite Atletico allowing the hosts to dominate possession.
The only test for Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak came in the 51st minute with a diving one-handed save against Roberto Rosales' well-struck free kick.
Barcelona can restore their lead to nine points if they beat Getafe at home today.