AAP Soccer

Godin heroics help Atletico win in La Liga

By AAP Newswire

Captain Diego Godin has scored the winning goal in stoppage time - with the help of the video assistant referee (VAR) - as Atletico Madrid twice came from behind to defeat Athletic Bilbao 3-2 in the Spanish La Liga.

With Godin injured and no substitutions left to make, coach Diego Simeone told the defender to go play in the attack.It was a desperation move and it worked.

"I was going to leave the match but Cholo (Simeone) told me to go play as a striker," the Uruguayan said.

"We never gave up and in the end we were rewarded."

Godin pulled a muscle in the 64th minute while making a run to try to stop - unsuccessfully - Inaki Willians from opening the scoring for Athletic.

Simeone made Atletico's third substitution a few moments earlier and couldn't replace the veteran.

Godin said he was already looking for someone to take his captain's armband when he realised he would have to stay.

"There were a lot of minutes left and I thought about leaving. I couldn't run," he said.

"But I knew I could help in a set-piece or something like that. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to help if I was not on the field."

Godin, who was expected to be sidelined for at least three weeks because of the injury, scored the dramatic winner with a header after Thomas Partey sent a free-kick into the area and Antoine Griezmann redirected the ball toward goal.

The last-gasp goal at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium was initially disallowed because of offside but the call was reversed after the VAR confirmed Godin was in legal position for his header.

The victory moved Atletico one point behind league leaders Barcelona, who host Real Betis on Sunday while Espanyol can move past Atletico when they visit fourth-place Sevilla.

Valencia's good run continued with a 1-0 win at Getafe thanks to a late penalty that was awarded by the VAR.

Dani Parejo converted the 81st-minute penalty after forward Kevin Gameiro was pulled back by a defender inside the area.

The result moved Valencia to 14th, five points above the relegation zone.

Real Valladolid, owned by former Brazil striker Ronaldo, moved to seventh despite being held to 0-0 home draw by Eibar while ninth-place Girona and Leganes also failed to trouble the scoreboard.