The Colchoneros, who had struggled in recent away matches, wasted little time in opening the scoring Saturday at Nuevo Arcangel Stadium in this southern city.

French striker Antoine Griezmann took advantage of a blunder by Argentine midfielder Bruno Zuculini in the fifth minute, taking possession of the ball and then firing a shot just inside the post and far out of the reach of Cordoba goalkeeper Juan Carlos.

The early score seemed to paralyze the home team, which did not attempt a single shot on goal during the first half or put together any threatening incursions into the visitors' territory.

Atletico, for its part, was not content with its one-goal lead and took advantage of one of its main strengths - its air attack - to put a second ball in the back of the net in the 39th minute, with Spanish midfielder Saul Ñiguez putting the finishing touches on a play that was set up by Atleti defenders Jesus Gamez and Jose Maria Gimenez.

In the second half, Cordoba's fans took out their frustrations with the home team by calling for the resignation of the club's chairman, Carlos Gonzalez.

Striker Nabil Ghilas, Portuguese forward Bebe, and Spanish midfielder Fidel created some scoring opportunities for the hosts over the final 45 minutes, but for the most part Cordoba did not seriously test Slovenian net minder Jan Oblak, while the Colchoneros concentrated their efforts on the defensive end.

With the win, Atletico now has 62 points, two points behind second-place Real Madrid, which plays Granada at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Cordoba, by contrast, remains mired in last place in La Liga and is in serious jeopardy of being relegated to Spain's second division.

Atleti also moved two points ahead of fourth-place Valencia, although Los Che can reclaim third place with a home victory Sunday evening over Villarreal.

League-leading FC Barcelona, for its part, will look to maintain at least a four-point advantage over Real Madrid in the La Liga standings when it takes on Celta Vigo at Balaidos Stadium on Sunday night.

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