Gameiro, Costa on target as Atletico keeps up Barcelona chase

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MADRID — Kevin Gameiro came off the bench to score one goal and make another for Diego Costa as Atletico Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 in La Liga Sunday.

It was another clinical performance from Diego Simeone's side, which has now recorded four consecutive league victories, all without their mean defense conceding a goal.

It remains second, seven points behind unbeaten league leader Barcelona, which won 2-0 at Eibar Saturday ahead of its Champions League last 16, first leg away to Chelsea.

Former Chelsea striker Costa returned for Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano after injury prevented him from taking part in their 4-1 Europa League win over FC Copenhagen in Denmark Thursday.

Atletico created little in the first half to get the crowd of just over 60,000 out of their seats. However, it livened up after the restart, and in particular after Gameiro was sent on for Koke just before the hour mark.

It was Atletico's French connection that led to the opening goal midway through the second half, with Antoine Griezmann setting up Gameiro, who took a touch before firing low past Kepa Arrizabalaga and into the far corner for his fifth league goal of the season.

Gameiro then turned provider with a fine through ball for Costa, who fired home to secure the points with 10 minutes remaining, the goal his second in La Liga since returning to Spain.

"We are not stopping, we are playing well at the moment, and we are enjoying ourselves," said Gameiro when asked about his team's pursuit of Barcelona at the top of the table.

Atletico, which has conceded a paltry nine goals in 24 La Liga games this season, will hope to stay within striking distance of Barcelona before going to the Camp Nou in a fortnight.

Simeone's side is also nine points clear of third-placed Valencia, which came from behind to win 2-1 at bottom club Malaga Saturday. Real Madrid, in fourth, is at Betis Sunday evening.

Earlier Sunday, Real Sociedad beat struggling Levante 3-0 at Anoeta.

Gomez scores Stuttgart winner

Mario Gomez scored for Stuttgart to beat Augsburg 1-0 Sunday for the side's first away win in the Bundesliga for more than a year.

Ahead of the World Cup in Russia, Gomez reminded Germany coach Joachim Loew of his prowess when he managed to control a rebound from a free kick and fire it inside the right corner despite being off balance in the 27th minute.

It was the 32-year-old's second goal in six Stuttgart games since his winter transfer from Wolfsburg and it secured the club's first away win in the league since a 4-2 win in Frankfurt on Feb. 6 last year.

Augsburg had coach Manuel Baum was sent to the stands in a heated second half as the home side's frustrations with the referee grew.

Michael Gregoritsch had what would have been an equalizer ruled out through video analysis for offside minutes before the break.

Stuttgart missed several chances to seal the result with goalkeeper Marwin Hitz keeping Augsburg in the game in the second half.

Augsburg's appeals for a penalty in injury time were waved away after Koo Ja-cheol's header struck Holger Badstuber's arm.

Tayfun Korkut stayed unbeaten in his third game as Stuttgart coach, while his side pulled four points clear of the relegation zone after its second successive win. — Agencies


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