2019-2020 LaLiga
  • Iker Muniain (37')
  • Diego Costa (39')

Atletico Madrid dealt Champions League blow on La Liga return

Diego Costa ends goal drought but Atletico are still in trouble (1:55)

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes and Alex Kirkland discuss Atletico Madrid's 1-1 draw away at Athletic Bilbao in La Liga. (1:55)

Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday on their return to action after La Liga's three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, missing out on the chance to capitalise on slip-ups by their rivals for Champions League places.

Iker Muniain gave Athletic the lead in an empty San Mames stadium by prodding home in the 37th minute to complete a clever move but Atletico responded two minutes later when Diego Costa slotted in following a through ball from Koke.

- Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
- Insider Notebook: Barca stun Madrid with wonderkid move

Costa celebrated his goal by holding up the shirt of Atletico Madrid Femenino midfielder Virginia Torrecilla, who had a successful operation to remove a brain tumour in May.

Atletico are sixth on 46 points, level with fifth-placed Getafe, who lost at Granada on Friday, and fourth-placed Real Sociedad, who host Osasuna later on Sunday. Athletic are 10th on 38.

"We're not in the worst situation as this was our first game back and Athletic are a difficult side but we cannot afford to slip up again if we want to get into the Champions League," said Atletico midfielder Koke.

"It's strange to come to a place like San Mames which is usually spectacular and which lives for football and to have no fans but we hope we can get back to normality soon."

This was Atletico's first game since their momentous 3-2 win over Champions League holders Liverpool and coach Diego Simeone decided to deploy Marcos Llorente, who scored twice against the English side and is usually a holding midfielder, in attack just behind Costa.

Yannick Carrasco caused the home team problems in the first half and came within inches of scoring the first goal, flashing a shot wide of the far post after being played in by Llorente.

Carrasco fired wide again before Athletic came to life and Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak was forced to keep out headers from Inaki Williams and Yeray Alvarez before Muniain found a way past the Slovenian.

But Atletico have a habit of scoring soon after conceding and Costa made no mistake when played in by Koke.

Atletico had the best chance to win the game after the interval when Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simon parried a cross from Renan Lodi into the path of Santiago Arias but the keeper recovered to block the rebound with his leg.

Spanish Primera División Standings

1 Atletico Madrid 38 +42 86
2 Real Madrid 38 +39 84
3 Barcelona 38 +47 79
4 Sevilla FC 38 +20 77
5 Real Sociedad 38 +21 62
6 Real Betis 38 0 61
7 Villarreal 38 +16 58
8 Celta Vigo 38 -2 53
9 Granada 38 -18 46
10 Athletic Bilbao 38 +4 46
11 Osasuna 38 -11 44
12 Cádiz 38 -22 44
13 Valencia 38 -3 43
14 Levante 38 -11 41
15 Getafe 38 -15 38
16 Alavés 38 -21 38
17 Elche 38 -21 36
18 Huesca 38 -19 34
19 Real Valladolid 38 -23 31
20 Eibar 38 -23 30