MADRID (REUTERS) - Atletico Madrid forward Luis Suarez was back among the goals to help his side to a 3-1 win at home to Elche on Saturday (Dec 19), taking them three points clear at the top of La Liga.
Suarez scored either side of halftime to put Atletico two goals up, while Lucas Boye pulled one back for the struggling visitors before Diego Costa sealed the points for Diego Simeone's side from the penalty spot.
The victory moved Atletico to 29 points from 12 games, three clear of second-placed Real Sociedad who suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat away to Levante later on.
Real Madrid, who beat Atletico 2-0 last week, are third on 26 after 13 games and can go level on points with their local rivals when they visit Eibar on Sunday. Elche are 16th on 14 points.
Uruguay striker Suarez, who recently had a spell on the sidelines after contracting Covid-19, gave Atletico the lead in the 41st minute as he got the slightest touch on a low cross from Kieran Trippier to score for the first time since Nov 7.
Suarez then slid in to knock home another from a delightful low pass by Yannick Carrasco in the 58th for his ninth goal of the season, taking him joint top of the scoring charts alongside Celta Vigo's Iago Aspas and Real Sociedad's Mikel Oyarzabal.
"Luis had to adapt to 20 days without participating and then last week he played three games," said Simeone.
"I was so happy for him, especially with the second goal, when he waited until the last moment to ensure he wasn't offside and got on the end of a great move from Carrasco."
Elche got back into the game with a header from Boye in the 64th following a well-worked corner routine, becoming the first side to score against Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano since the first game of the season.
Boye nearly found an equaliser when he swivelled to shoot inside the box but Atletico keeper Jan Oblak got across to tip the ball around the near post.
The hosts soon sealed the points though when substitute Costa went to ground to earn a debateable penalty and then lashed home from the spot in the 80th.
Elche's 40-year-old striker Nino then came off the bench to try and help his side get something from the game and almost scored but saw his header cleared off the line.