Partey time as Atletico recover to seal third win
MATCH-WINNER: Atletico Madrid's midfielder Thomas Partey (left) scores during the Spanish League match against Eibar in Madrid. - AFP
Madrid - Bale sees red after brace as Real draw at Villarreal
Atletico Madrid maintained their perfect start to the La Liga season by staging a remarkable comeback from two goals down to beat Eibar 3-2 at home on Sunday thanks to a 90th-minute strike from midfielder Thomas Partey.
Diego Simeone's side had kept clean sheets in their opening two games but fell behind in the seventh minute to a headed goal from 35-year-old striker Charles and defender Anaitz Arbilla doubled Eibar's lead with a deflected effort in the 19th.
Atleti's 126 million-euro signing Joao Felix pulled the home side back into contention in the 27th minute by scoring his first La Liga goal for the club, side-footing a simple pass from strike partner Diego Costa into the net from close range.
Vitolo, the match-winner last week at Leganes, grabbed the equaliser early in the second half with a cool finish into the bottom corner and Costa had a strike ruled out for offside.
But Partey snatched a winner with a late show of strength and determination to fight off two defenders in the box before smashing the ball into the net.
"The most important thing about today is that we came back from a tough start, we were feeling some very strange sensations in the first 20 minutes," said Atletico coach Simeone.
Atletico are the only team in the Spanish top flight to have won all three of their games and they lead the La Liga standings with nine points, five more than last year's champions Barcelona.
The last time Atletico won their opening three matches of a league campaign was in the 2013-14 season, when they went on to lift the La Liga title, but Simeone did not want to draw comparisons between that side and his current players.
"That team was very experienced, now we have some very young players, a lot of new faces and we have to construct a new team," he added.
"We want to win, win again and then win some more. It's not easy to say goodbye to eight players, to bring in eight new players and to continue competing and that's what we're doing. But we must stay calm because it's going to be a long season."
Gareth Bale twice came to Real Madrid's rescue to salvage a 2-2 draw at Villarreal but the Wales forward ended the night in despair as he was sent off in added time for receiving two yellow cards.
Real were severely weakened by six injuries to attacking players and fell behind in the 11th minute when captain Sergio Ramos lost the ball in his own half and Villarreal broke quickly, with Gerard Moreno scoring on the rebound.
Bale equalised in stoppage time of the first half by tapping in a cross from Dani Carvajal from close range but Villarreal restored their lead in the 74th minute through Moi Gomez, after Karim Benzema had a goal ruled out for offside.
Bale has a long and successful record playing at Villarreal, scoring there on his Real debut in 2013 after completing his 100 million-euro move from Tottenham Hotspur and netting in a 3-2 win in 2017 and a 2-2 draw in 2018.
He again pulled Madrid out of trouble with a powerful low strike in the 88th minute but somehow contrived to get himself sent off by earning two yellow cards for fouls in stoppage time.
Real have picked up five points from their opening three games, one more than champions Barcelona, but Zinedine Zidane's side are four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who have won all three matches.
Zidane criticised his side for their lacklustre start but was pleased with how they reacted to going behind.
"We began the game without any intensity, we were barely in the game for the first 15 minutes, it's always important to make a strong start," he told a news conference.
"But we reacted well and we deserved to score more goals. We were up against a good opponent and we have to improve in defence because we know what we are capable of in attack.
"But I'm focusing on the positive things we did today, above all our reaction, because it was very important that we didn't lose."
|IN A NUTSHELL|
Valencia 2 Mallorca 0
Atletico 3 Eibar 2
Espanyol 0 Granada 3
Villarreal 2 Real 2
Osasuna 2 Barcelona 2
Getafe 1 Alaves 1
Levante 2 Valladolid 0
Real Betis 2 Leganes 1
Sevilla 1 Celta 1
Athletic 2 Sociedad 0
Lazio 1 Roma 1
Cagliari 1 Inter Milan 2
Lecce 0 Verona 1
Sassuolo 4 Sampdoria 1
Udinese 1 Parma 3
Atalanta 2 Torino 3
Genoa 2 Fiorentina 1
Milan 1 Brescia 0
Juventus 4 Napoli 3
Bologna 1 SPAL 0
Bremen 3 Augsburg 2
Eintracht 2 Fortuna 1
Leverkusen 0 Hoffenheim 0
Schalke 3 Hertha Berlin 0
Wolfsburg 1 Paderborn 1
Freiburg 1 Cologne 2
Bayern 6 Mainz 1
Union Berlin 3 Dortmund 1
Gladbach 1 Leipzig 3
Marseille 1 Saint-Etienne 0
Strasbourg 2 Monaco 2
Reims 2 Lille 0
Rennes 1 Nice 2
Lyon 1 Bordeaux 1
Angers 2 Dijon 0
Nantes 1 Montpellier 0
Nimes 3 Brest 0
Toulouse 2 Amiens 0
Metz 0 PSG 2