Violence overshadows Atletico Madrid win over Deportivo La Coruna

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Atletico Madrid clinched an eighth win in nine matches as they beat Deportivo La Coruna 2-0 thanks to goals from Saul and Arda Turan. But this was a day when violent scenes on the Madrid riverside before the game cast a dark shadow over football. Running battles between rival supporters began at breakfast time and the Spanish league authorities made moves to postpone the match that began at midday local time. The Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP) said in a statement condemning the trouble that it was not possible to call off the Primera Division fixture, however, and it went ahead against the backdrop of the hooliganism, which led to injuries and reportedly involved up to 180 supporters at the Madrid Rio park by the Manzanares river, a short distance from the Vicente Calderon stadium. If Diego Simeone's players were aware of the trouble outside, they showed composure on the pitch to complete an efficient if unspectacular victory. Koke headed against the post as Atletico pushed for an early opener, but the breakthrough did not come until three minutes before half-time. Arda was fouled on the Atletico left, just outside the penalty area, and Koke's free-kick was headed on by Mario Mandzukic to Saul, who from three yards would have looked foolish had he missed. He nodded into the empty net and Atletico had their lead. Their second goal arrived satisfyingly early in the second half. With under 10 minutes played after the resumption, Koke's outswinging corner from the right was nodded partially away but only as far as to Arda, lurking on the edge of the penalty area. On the volley, the Turkey international duly returned the ball goalwards. His shot was not the most crisp and looked to be covered by Deportivo's Fabricio as it trundled through, before defender Modibo Diakite needlessly swung out a boot and swiped the ball out of the reach of his goalkeeper and into the net. Deportivo, mired in the relegation zone, are not the sort of team capable of turning around two-goal deficits against the champions, and for a while shots rained in on their goal as Atletico sought a third. Sidnei and Jose Rodriguez had late attempts at cutting into the lead but neither could find the net, as Atletico moved back to just four points behind leaders Real Madrid.