Luis Suarez led Atletico Madrid to another stunning turnaround on the road in LaLiga as they won 2-1 again at Getafe on Tuesday.
Champions Atleti had scored a 99th-minute winner in their previous away match at Espanyol having trailed at half-time and required a repeat against their latest hosts.
Stefan Mitrovic’s fortuitous first-half header ended Getafe’s long drought in this fixture going back to 2011 and kept them in front until a foolish red card for Carles Alena.
Suarez capitalised in typically clinical fashion, scoring twice in the closing stages to continue this remarkable trend of late heroics.
The Uruguay forward had been involved in Atleti’s best chance of the opening period when they looked certain to take the lead after his volley was parried only as far as Angel Correa, but Juan Iglesias stretched to block just as the winger appeared to have a simple finish.
Instead, Getafe were in front on the stroke of the interval, keeping an attack alive when Jan Oblak failed to claim a high ball, before Mitrovic’s header bounced off the post, against the goalkeeper’s right hand and in.
Suarez deserved better when a looping header on 68 minutes hit the crossbar after beating David Soria, as pressure had built on the home goal throughout the second half.
It only ramped up further when Alena, already booked, was dismissed following a VAR review for an ugly stamp on the back of Matheus Cunha’s calf.
Suarez soon rifled past Soria and, after Oblak had to be alert to a close-range Enes Unal attempt, the Atleti number seven was there again with a header as the clock turned 90.
What does it mean? So close to early setback
Atleti moved to the top of the table with this win – with rivals Real Madrid still to play this midweek – but anything less than three points would have represented a bitter blow, even at this early stage of the season.
Diego Simeone’s side were facing a team still waiting on their first point of the campaign and against whom they had gone 17 matches without defeat. That run would have ended if not for Suarez – or, perhaps, if not for the red card.
Suarez saves the day
Simeone said he had “full confidence” in Suarez, whose form at the beginning of the campaign had been rather more ordinary than in last season’s title triumph. He had one goal in five coming into this match.
But the forward repaid his coach’s faith and then some in a dominant attacking display, scoring with his half of his four attempts. The only effort not to hit the target bounced back out off the crossbar.
Alena lunacy so costly
This had been a fairly feisty affair throughout, with Atleti unhappy at Getafe’s attempts to unsettle the slightly shaky Oblak, but Alena’s lack of discipline was hugely damaging.
Having been carded for one of two previous fouls, Alena could scarcely afford another misstep, let alone the rash lunge that reduced his team to 10 men.
Atletico go to Deportivo Alaves in Saturday’s early game, while Getafe’s quest for a first point takes them to Real Betis on Sunday.