The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Diego Costa scores twice to help Atletico Madrid beat Austria Vienna 3-0 in Champions League
VIENNA - Diego Costa scored twice as Atletico Madrid beat Austria Vienna 3-0 on Tuesday to maintain its winning run in the Champions League this season.
Raul Garcia gave Atletico the lead in the eighth minute after being set up by Filipe Luis. Diego Costa, who was serving a suspension during the earlier games against Zenit and Porto, doubled Atletico's lead in the 20th minute after a solo run and was left unmarked when he made it 3-0 in the 53rd.
The result kept Atletico top of Group G with nine points from three games, five points clear of second-place Zenit St. Petersburg, which beat Porto 1-0.
"This is the result of great team work," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said through an interpreter. "I don't want to change this team but with the many matches we are playing, I sometimes have to."
Simeone left striker David Villa on the bench in favour of Raul Garcia alongside Diego Costa, who was doubtful after getting a knock on his right ankle against Espanyol on Saturday.
Diego Costa, who leads the Spanish league with 10 goals, was replaced by Cristian Rodriguez after an hour.
"He had problems after Saturday but our doctors have been working well with him for three days," Simeone said. "He played a key role for us, especially as we were looking for depth in our game."
Atletico was in control from the opening minute. Juanfran gave a first warning in the fourth minute when he tested Austria Vienna goalkeeper Heinz Lindner with a powerful diagonal shot.
Defender Luis was unmarked four minutes later as he entered the penalty area from the left and picked out Raul Garcia for an easy finish.
After picking up the ball in Atletico's half, Diego Costa dribbled 40 metres, dodged Austria Vienna captain Manuel Ortlechner's tackle and gave Lindner no chance with a low shot to make it 2-0.
Austria Vienna missed its best chance in the 37th minute. A long cross by Florian Mader found striker Philipp Hosiner, whose volley hit the crossbar above goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. A minute later, the home team was denied a penalty by referee Daniele Orsato after Roman Kienast went down in the area.
Seven minutes before he left the field, Diego Costa put the result beyond doubt with his second goal, receiving a pass by Emiliano Insua and sending his shot beneath Lindner.
"Everything went against us in the first 20 minutes," said Austria coach Nenad Bjelica, who was sent to the stands by Orsato after complaining about some of the referee's decisions at halftime.
"We didn't have the courage to really go for it from the beginning," Bjelica said. "Then you're 2-0 down and against Atletico, that means it's virtually game over."
Austria Vienna started to fight more after 30 minutes but lacked the quality of its Spanish opponents.
Things got worse when the home team lost key player Marko Stankovic after 14 minutes because of a recurring left calf injury. He was replaced by Kienast.
With one point from three games and still waiting for its first ever Champions League goal, Austria Vienna is all but eliminated from the competition.
"Of course we try to reach third place, that's our duty as sports men," Bjelica said. "But it's no disaster if we don't succeed. For us, it's just an honour to be in the Champions League."
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