Joao Miranda shines as Atletico Madrid win away to Almeria


Joao Miranda's second-half header proved the difference as Atletico Madrid beat Almeria 1-0 on Wednesday and maintained their unbeaten start to the season in La Liga. Miranda's second goal in as many games and his third for the season means Atletico climb to second in the table, one point behind Barcelona albeit having played a game more. Diego Simeone's side were far from their best at Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos but the win sees them keep pace at the top of the table ahead of a difficult match at home to Sevilla on Saturday. Almeria, who recorded an impressive 2-1 win at Real Sociedad last weekend, are 10th with five points from as many matches. The home side were perhaps unfortunate not take a point having troubled Atletico for much of the match and particularly the first half when their opponents struggled to find their usual rhythm. Antoine Griezmann had the first real opportunity of the match in the sixth minute but the winger nodded wide from six yards out and Diego Godin also went close a soon after, but his header was scrambled away by Martinez Ruben. The opening stages, however, were scrappy overall with neither side able to establish any real fluency. It was not until the half-hour mark that Atletico tested Ruben again as Cardoso Tiago drilled a right-footed shot from distance, which had to be tipped round the post. The visitors began to gain some momentum and should have taken the lead five minutes before the interval when a free-flowing move ended with Raul Garcia's finish being pushed wide by Ruben. Simeone's side continued to exert pressure in the early stages of the second half and Jorge Koke should have done better when he headed Griezmann's cross wide. In the 59th minute, the visitors did finally get the breakthrough as Koke whipped in a corner to the near post and Miranda reacted fasted to head the ball home. Atletico were now in charge of the game and they could have doubled their lead when Godin's ambitious overhead kick flew over the bar. As the contest moved into the final 20 minutes, the visitors began to drop deeper to defend their advantage and Almeria found it difficult to create clear-cut chances. Jose Antonio Verza fired a free-kick just wide of the post with nine minutes to play but that was as close as the home side came to an equaliser as Atletico held firm for all three points.