Alvaro Morata on Friday scored twice to lead Atletico Madrid to a 3-0 win over RCD Mallorca and extend their strong finish to La Liga.
Diego Simeone’s team have long been out of the title race being disputed by leaders Real Madrid and second-placed Barcelona, who they trail by eight points.
However, Atletico are one of the hottest teams as La Liga ticks down before it shifts focus to the Champions League final eight to be played in Portugal next month.
In March, when the league was halted, Atletico were struggling to secure a Champions League berth for next season. They are now well on course to finishing third.
Atletico have remained undefeated in seven matches since the Spanish top league resumed following a three-month stoppage for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were in a complicated situation before the stoppage, but we have been playing well since we got back to playing and have been playing with a great attitude,” Morata said.
Simeone’s side dominated the relegation-threatened Mallorca from the start.
Morata earned a penalty when he was pulled down by Aleksandar Sedlar in the area. Goalkeeper Manuel Reina blocked his strike, but a video review helped the referee order a redo of the penalty after Sedlar entered the area too early.
Morata stepped back up and on a second try rifled the ball into the top corner in the 29th minute.
“Missing and then getting back up and trying again is part of football,” Morata said about the penalty.
The former Chelsea and Real Madrid striker was back on the scoreboard in first-half injury time when Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion stole the ball and played Marcos Llorente clear to reach the end line, where he found Morata at the far post to tap home.
The goals were Morata’s 10th and 11th of the season in league play.
Mallorca could not muster a comeback and Renan Lodi hit the crossbar for Atletico before Koke scored in the 79th minute.
His shot deflected off a defender to give Reina no chance to save.
Mallorca were left five points from safety with four games left.
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