Atletico beat deflated Levante
Atletico Madrid cast off their indifferent form to secure a 3-2 win and inflict a third successive La Liga defeat on deflated Levante.
Gregorio Manzano's side have been characteristically inconsistent so far this term, but were up against a Levante side whose early-season bubble has burst in recent weeks. And they were superior throughout in tonight's game, with Pizzi giving them the lead and Adrian Lopez and Diego scoring after Xavi Torres had briefly pulled Levante level. Ruben's injury-time strike proved a mere consolation.
Diego looked to get involved right from the off and tried his luck with a tame effort in the fourth minute which Gustavo Munua saved easily. At the other end Atleti goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved from Nabil El Zhar's shot from 25 yards before, at the other end, Tiago volleyed over.
Diego saw another poor effort go wide, while Levante midfielder Xavi Torres blasted a powerful shot which Courtois saved in the 23rd minute. Atletico midfielder Tiago sent another wayward effort off target and Arda Turan actually forced a save from Gustavo Munua.
The hosts continued to press as Filipe Luis tried his luck from around 25 yards, but saw his effort go wide as the half-time whistle approached.
Xavi Torres opened the second half with a shot, although Courtois saved quite comfortably. Atletico's night got worse in the 58th minute when they lost Silvio to a nasty-looking injury.
Adrian, Salvio and Diego all saw chances come and go as the home side continued to push for an opener and their persistence eventually paid off in the 68th minute as Pizzi produced the finishing touch to delight the Vicente Calderon crowd.
The lead was brief, however, as Xavi Torres levelled moments later when he was on hand to steer home after Jose Barkero's pass in the 72nd minute. Atleti were eager to show their mettle, though, and two minutes later they were back in front. Turan made progress down the right and reached the byline, before crossing for Adrian to nod in on the line.
It looked to be all over when Diego got a deserved third in the 83rd minute and while Ruben's strike two minutes into added time provided a brief moment of tension, Atletico held on for a richly-deserved victory.