Atletico top La Liga with 3-2 win
DIEGO Costa scored twice as Atletico Madrid went top of La Liga, for 24 hours at least, with victory over Levante.
Levante led after 59 seconds when Andreas Ivanschitz fired home, but Diego Godin headed home an equaliser.
Costa put Atletico ahead with a close-range volley, only for Pedro Rios to level following a run from the halfway line.
But Costa scored again, this time from a penalty, to win it for the hosts and 12th-placed Levante had Juanfran sent off late in the match over an off-the-ball clash with Filipe Luis.
Costa's 18th and 19th goals of the season take Atletico three points clear of Barcelona, who were to take on Getafe yesterday. If Barca failed to win or only won 1-0, Atletico would be top of the table until at least Jan 5, after Spain's winter break.
Diego Simeone's side have dropped points in only two league games this season, but their defence seemed to be half-asleep when Austrian Ivanschitz was played through and fired past Thibaut Courtois, who got a touch but was unable to keep it out.
The hosts levelled when defender Godin headed home Juanfran's right-wing cross. The Uruguayan almost scored a second when he blazed over the crossbar with a left-footed volley.
Two minutes after the break, Costa made himself the top scorer in La Liga this season when he sneaked in behind the Levante defence to fire home with a first-time finish.
Just when it looked like the hosts were cruising, Rios ran more than 30m before shooting past Courtois.
But as he has been on many occasions this season, Costa was Atletico's hero with a match-winning goal. His 77th-minute penalty, which was almost saved by Keylor Navas, came after Atletico's Juanfran nipped in ahead of Ruben Garcia and was brought down.
As the game entered injury time, Levante's Juanfran was dismissed after clashing with Luis in the box and their hopes of scoring an equaliser went down the tunnel with him.