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Costa strikes as Atletico keep up title charge

ESPN staff
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Diego Costa wrapped up the 2-0 win over Elche from the spot © Getty Images
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Atletico Madrid took another step towards the La Liga title with a hard-fought 2-0 win over struggling Elche at the Vicente Calderon.

Second-half goals from Miranda and Diego Costa saw Atletico move six points clear of Real Madrid and seven ahead of Barcelona, who both have a game in hand.

The hosts were awarded a penalty early in the second half after Cristian Sapunaru brought down Raul Garcia in the box.

However with Costa having missed three spot kicks so far this season, David Villa stepped up only to see his weak, low effort comfortably pushed away by Elche keeper Manu Herrera.

Villa though he had made amends soon after when he put the ball in the net as the ball was played back into the box, but he was ruled offside.

As the tension around the Vicente Calderon increased, Atletico finally got the breakthrough after 72 minutes with Miranda heading Jose Sosa's corner back across goal and past Herrera.

Then in injury time, Atletico earned a second penalty after Sapunaru was sent off for bringing down Costa, who sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot to make the points safe with his 35th goal of the season.

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