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Atletico Madrid opened up a six-point lead over FC Barcelona and an eight-point advantage over Real Madrid at the top of La Liga after a hard-fought 2-1 win at home to Athletic Club Bilbao.

Atletico started strongly and pushed their rivals back into their own half, but Bilbao grew into the game and began to control the midfield before Oscar de Marcos’ through ball allowed Iñaki Williams to pull the ball back for Iker Muniain to score.

The visitors were in charge, but Atletico drew level with the last action of the half when Marcos Llorente headed home Thomas Lemar’s cross with the minute of injury time the referee had added on already completed.

The home side took the lead five minutes into the second half after Luis Suarez went down in the Athletic area after a challenge from Unai Nunez. Although replays showed Suarez has actually trodden on Nunez rather than vice-versa, the decision stood and Suarez sent Unai Simon the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Yannick Carrasco fired across the face of goal and Llorente fired over for Bilbao, but the league leaders were pushed deeper and deeper by Athletic as the visitors looked for an equalizer their football deserved.

Nunez had the chance to equalize in the second minute of injury time, but he headed straight at Jan Oblak when he really should have done better and Atletico hung on for three vital points.