Espanyol pile on problems for Atletico

Last Updated: Dec 12, 2011, 09:33 AM IST

Madrid: Espanyol put their European ambitions back on track with a feast of attacking football in a 4-2 victory over a slack Atletico Madrid in La Liga.

Espanyol had only scored three goals in their last five games, but yesterday they were 2-0 ahead after only seven minutes.

Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois gave the ball away to Koffi Romaric, who found Juan Verdu, and his shot from distance caught the Belgian shot stopper off guard for the opener.

A clinical finish from Verdu followed from the edge of the area and then Romaric added a third after a one-two with Sergio Garcia.

Espanyol were walking through the Atletico defence at ease and Thievy Bifouma should have headed in another before Radamel Falcao reduced the arrears with a header after 32 minutes.

After the break Sergio Garcia missed a couple of good openings before slotting the fourth under the keeper after embarrassingly little effort to stop him from the Atletico backline.

Arda Turan pulled a goal back with eight minutes to go.

Athletic Bilbao are a point behind Espanyol after an injury-time goal from Alvaro Gonzalez earned Racing Santander a 1-1 draw at San Mames, with Jon Aurtenetxe having put the home side ahead.

Substitute Juanmi Jimenez rescued a point for Malaga who maintained their sixth place with a 1-1 draw against Osasuna.

Malaga have played some attractive football this season but struggled to convert their good play into results and that was the case also against Osasuna.