Atletico survive Rayo fightback in thriller
Atletico Madrid continued their fine goalscoring form but very nearly threw away a four-goal lead in a crazy 4-3 encounter with Rayo Vallecano at the Vicente Calderon.
Mario Suarez tapped home from Diego Costa's cut-back to give the hosts the lead at the break and they appeared to have made sure of the points with three goals in ten minutes after the interval from Koke, Arda Turan and a Radamel Falcao penalty.
But the hosts took their foot off the pedal as the clock ticked down, allowing Rayo to score three times in the final ten minutes.
Substitute Andrija Delibasic scored twice and Leo Baptistao added a third two minutes from time as the visitors moved to within touching distance of an improbable point, but they could not force an equaliser in what time remained.
Atleti had disposed of Athletic Bilbao 4-0 and Chelsea 4-1 in their previous two matches and they seemed determined to end Rayo's unbeaten record from the off.
Costa, who excelled on loan at Rayo last season, should have opened the scoring inside five minutes as Arda broke down the left and squared to the edge of the area but Dani Gimenez got down well to block his low effort.
Falcao should have done better as he shot over from just outside the area but the opener soon arrived as Costa got to the byline and his cross was slotted home at the back post by Suarez.
Arda passed up a great chance to make it two just before the break as his weak chip over Dani was blocked on the line and the Turkey international smashed the rebound over.
Atleti seemed to have put the game out of sight with a ten-minute blitz straight after half-time. Great work from Costa left Koke with the easiest of finishes on 48 minutes before a fine team move allowed Juanfran to pick out Arda for the third seconds later.
Falcao comfortably fired home a penalty straight down the middle after Costa had been upended by Javi Fuego, to register his ninth of the season for club and country.
Rayo almost recover
The introduction of Lass Bangoura and Delibasic gave Rayo an extra thrust as Atleti relaxed and they produced a stunning comeback in the final ten minutes.
Delibasic grabbed the first two, slotting home crosses from Alejandro Dominguez and Lass, before Leo ensured a frantic finish when he slammed home from close range.