Memphis Depay struck his first Atletico Madrid goal to help his team steal a late 1-0 win at Celta Vigo on Sunday in La Liga.
Diego Simeone’s side, down to 10 men after Stefan Savic’s red card, were outplayed but Depay reacted quickly to spin and bury a loose ball in the 89th minute.
The Dutch forward, signed from Barcelona in January, netted in La Liga for the first time since September to help Atletico consolidate their hold on fourth place.
Goalkeeper Jan Oblak made a string of stunning saves, while Celta striker Iago Aspas hit the crossbar from a free kick, as the hosts dominated at Balaidos.
After a dull first half Aspas should have sent Celta ahead early in the second when through on goal but Oblak parried his effort.
With the shot still trickling towards goal, the Slovenian brilliantly recovered to ensure the whole ball did not cross the line.
Atletico defender Savic was dismissed in the 70th minute for hauling down Swiss striker Haris Seferovic on the edge of the area.
Remarkably the Montenegrin defender has been dismissed three times in his last five appearances across all competitions.
– Stealing the points –
Aspas crashed the resulting free kick against the woodwork, before Oblak made a fine stop to foil Carles Perez, on loan from Roma.
The goalkeeper made another breathtaking save to stop a Reinildo Mandava clearance going into his own net, before Depay’s late strike earned Atletico their victory.
Yannick Carrasco’s effort was deflected by a defender into Depay’s path and he kept a cool head to steer the ball home.
Atletico are a point behind third-placed Real Sociedad, who visit Espanyol on Monday.
Spanish midfielder Koke set a new Atletico record for league appearances, playing for the 402nd time in the top flight, but was more content with the victory.
“The most important thing is the three points,” Koke told Movistar.
“It’s nice to beat records at the club of my life. We suffered, with one player less, (but) we got the three points.”
With Atletico out of European competition and beaten in the Copa del Rey by rivals Real Madrid, securing Champions League football with a top-four finish is their one remaining goal.
“When you have one less player you suffer, but the team was good, compact, and that’s the dynamic we have to have,” added Koke.
“That’s the one we’ve had since the World Cup, with our heads clear, competing.
“We’ve just got La Liga left and we want to finish as high as possible.”
The harsh defeat leaves Celta Vigo provisionally 13th, unable to add a third consecutive victory to their wins over Real Betis and Athletic Bilbao.
Elsewhere Rayo Vallecano, sixth, were unable to beat lowly Getafe in a Madrid derby, sharing a 1-1 draw.
The hosts, 19th, levelled through Enes Unal after a Mauro Arambarri own goal sent Rayo ahead, with both sides missing a penalty.
Later Sunday leaders Barcelona visit Villarreal.