First Division - Day 23

Recreativo Huelva 3 - Atlético Madrid 0

Recreativo: Luque; Merino, Loren, Iker Begoña, Pernía; ; Javi García (Quique Romero 63'), Viqueira, Camacho, Benítez (Oscar Arpón 85'); Raúl Molina, Joaozinho (Xisco 55'). 4-4-2.
Atlético: Esteban; Contra, Coloccini, Hibic, Sergi; Movilla, Nagore; José Mari, Jorge (Stankovic 60'), Luis García (Javi Moreno 53'); Fernando Torres (Dani 75'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Recreativo: Benítez, Joaozinho for Mario Bermejo, Oscar Arpón / Atlético: Nagore, Jorge for Albertini, Javi Moreno.

1-0. 66. Quique Romero. Ran on to long pass from left to fire shot wide of Esteban.
2-0. 81. Xisco. Pulled down through ball and volleyed into top of net.
3-0. 83. Benítez. Lifted ball over Coloccini and hooked shot into far top corner.

Atlético Madrid always had problems with Recreativo during the two seasons they were in the second division, and things didn't change now they are both in the top flight. The Andalucians dumped Luis Aragonés' side out of the Spanish cup earlier in the season and held them to a draw at the Calderón stadium in the league, and this weekend they beat them 3-0 in the return match in Huelva.

The only action in a dull first half was a shot against the bar from Atleti's Coloccini, but after the visitors were left with ten men when Nagore picked up a second yellow card midway through the second half, the fun began. Lucas Alcaraz had already brought on Xisco for a Joaozinho who was making his first start, and with a man advantage he replaced Javi García with the more attacking Quique Romero. Within two minutes the new man had scored, running on to a cross from Xisco to fire a shot past Esteban.

The numbers were evened up a few minutes later, Contra's over-reaction when fouled by Raúl Molina perhaps convincing referee Pino Zamorano to send the striker off, but by then Recre had the upper hand and kept up the pressure. Xisco made it two with a superb piece of control which allowed him to beat his marker and crack a shot past the keeper, and two minutes later Benítez scored another superb goal, lifting the ball over Coloccini's head and hooking a high volley into the top corner of the net. Three goals that would have had the world talking had they come from the Real Madrid super-stars, but for Recre it was enough to give them three more points and a little more hope in their battle for survival.