Atletico de Madrid 0 : 2 Athletic Bilbao - Toquero at the double for Athletic

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Posted Sunday, January 30, 2011 by PA

Gaizka Toquero struck his first goals of the season to lead Athletic Bilbao to a potentially vital 2-0 victory over fellow European hopefuls Atletico Madrid, whose miserable start to 2011 shows no sign of abating.

Toquero struck in the 45th and 64th minutes to ensure the penalty miss by star striker Fernando Llorente shortly before the interval did not prove costly at the Vicente Calderon.

That penalty also saw Atletico reduced to 10 men as Luis Perea was shown a straight red card for bringing down Llorente - it was an incident which ultimately proved key as the home side had edged an exciting first half up until that point.

Athletic's victory keeps them in sixth place in the standings and means they now have a five-point advantage over seventh-placed Atletico, who have now lost five of their last six league and cup games and have won just once in eight games since the turn of the year.

Atletico welcomed back key trio Sergio Aguero, Jose Antonio Reyes and Tiago from injury but Quique Sanchez Flores' men found themselves on the back foot early on with visitors Athletic testing David De Gea through Javi Martinez and Llorente.

Atletico then started to find their stride, and captain Diego Forlan, Aguero and Reyes all had efforts saved by Gorka Iraizoz while Aguero headed a good chance over when unmarked.

In what was developing into a thrilling end-to-end contest, Toquero then saw a diving header tipped over by De Gea before Atletico raced down the other end and strike duo Forlan and Aguero brought two more good saves out of Iraizoz in quick succession.

Then came the incident which helped put Athletic in control.

Llorente chested the ball down inside the area and, as Perea came in to challenge, the Spain striker was sent crashing to the floor.

The referee immediately pointed to the spot and then brandished a red card for Perea, much to the astonishment and anger of the Atletico players, who surrounded the official in protest of the decision.

Their complaints fell on deaf ears, but they were much happier moments later as Llorente fired his spot-kick wide of the post.

Forlan then missed a great chance to put last season's Europa League winners ahead after he was put clean through down the middle by Aguero.

The Uruguay international spurned the chance though, dragging his shot wide of goal with just Iraizoz to beat, and to compound Forlan's misery, Athletic took the lead in stoppage-time through Toquero.

The Athletic striker was unmarked as he was picked out in the area by Andoni Iraola, and his low volley was too good for De Gea.

Athletic came close to doubling their lead at the start of the second half when Llorente volleyed wide at the near post, and then the Basque visitors had to weather an attempted Atletico fightback.

Sanchez Flores' side could not find the breakthrough however and their hopes of getting anything out of the match all but ended when Toquero made it 2-0, sliding the ball in in the middle following good work by Iraola and Martinez down the right.

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