Atletico Madrid’s proficiency from set pieces saw them avoid further embarrassment as the walked away from Almeria with a narrow win.
It was a dulling match, which ferociously sparked into life in the second half, with a header form Miranda proving the winning goal.
Atletico are still yet to fully convince of their title credentials this season, drawing 2-2 with Celta de Vigo at the weekend and a stalemate on the opening day of the season at Rayo Vallecano. But the win, which at times looked in doubt, will go a long way helping Diego Simeone's side in the defence of their La Liga trophy.
Main striker Mario Mandzukic is yet to return from a broken nose injury which saw his require surgery, meaning Atletico played without a recognised striker, with Antoine Griezmann operating furthest forward.
And it was the Frenchman who came closest for the visitors in the opening 15 minutes, as he latched onto Arda Turan’s through ball and rounded the goalkeeper, only to be halted by the offside flag.
In truth, opportunities were few and far between for both side. Well struck efforts from Tiago and Raul Garcia required decent saves from Ruben in the Almeria goal.
Atletico were winless in their last five visits to the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos, and it wasn’t difficult to see why with Almeria countering most of their good build-up play, and, so far, nullifying their threat from set pieces.
Poor going forward
However the host offered very little in attack leaving the match in the balance. The lack of a dedicated striker was clearly a hindrance to Diego Simeone’s side.
It was clear the match needed a goal, and Atletico turned the screw in the second half, looking for the opening goal that would relieve much of the tension.
Griezmann's lack of composure in attacking areas was costing him dearly, unable to make the most of any chance afforded to him.
On the one chance he did beat the offside trap, he again attempted to skip past keeper Ruben, who stood his ground well and ushered the winger away from the danger area.
But any inadequacies in Atletico Madrid’s build-up play were papered over by their prowess from set pieces, which saw them take the lead. Koke’s out-swinging corner found the head of Miranda, who evaded the attentions of three Almeria defenders and nodded home.
Almeria have scored late goals in their last two meetings with Atletico, and pushed hard for an equaliser.
But Madrid’s other trademark of resolute defending meant the home side were restricted to half-chances and speculative efforts, with the visitors holding firm for an important three points.
ALMERIA: Ruben; Navarro, Trujillo, dos Santos, Mane; Velez, Azeez; Zongo, Verza, Silva; Hemed.
ATLETICO MADRID: Moya; Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Siqueira; Koke, Tiago, Suarez, Turan; Garcia, Griezmann.
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