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Brazilian defender Renan Lodi scored two goals for Atletico Madrid in a convincing 2-0 home win over Celta Vigo on Saturday, lifting the LaLiga champions to fourth place in the standings.
Lodi opened the scoring in the 36th minute with a cross-shot that snuck in between the goalkeeper and his right post after a long pass from Geoffrey Kondogbia.
The same combination led to Atletico’s second on the hour mark as Central African Republic captain Kondogbia set up Lodi to score from close range for the first brace of his career.
The win meant leapfrogged Barcelona to fourth place in the standings, with 45 points, one behind Real Betis, six from second-placed Sevilla and 15 behind leaders Real Madrid.
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It was sweet redemption for Lodi who was not being picked by coach Diego Simeone earlier in the season. He burst into tears when the crowd in the Metropolitano stadium gave him a standing ovation as he was substituted late in the second half.
He was also one of Atletico’s best players in their 1-1 draw against Manchester United in the Champions League last 16 first leg last Wednesday.
“Lodi is a hard-working, humble player who deserves all the praise and support,” Simeone told reporters.
“Last year, with the great season [Yannick] Carrasco had, Renan didn’t get many minutes in his first year with us. But with the characteristics he has, we always said that as a winger or wing-back, he’s dangerous in attack, he can cross, he can score goals.
“But the most important thing is what you don’t see, how he trains, he’s respectful, Reinildo arrived and he was the first one to spend time with him, you don’t see that.
“He’s doing well and football is paying it back, the other day [against Manchester United] and today.”
The Brazilian was grateful to the coach for giving him a chance to shine in a more attacking position on the pitch.
“I’m really happy for the opportunity that the coach gave me to play out of my position,” Lodi said.
“I’m a left-back, that’s what I do best, but if I’m needed up-front like the last two matches, I’ll do my best to contribute. I’m delighted that I finally had the chance to show what I’m worth.
“I’m very happy, growing with the team, in a position I’m not used to playing in, but I’m working, listening to my teammates and the boss. We’re playing great games like on Wednesday and today too.
“I’m very happy, it’s a night I’ll always remember.”
The result meant back-to-back wins for Atletico in the league, either side of their impressive showing against United in Europe, giving them hope of rescuing their season after a disappointing start.
Renan Lodi scored two goals for Atletico Madrid in a convincing 2-0 home win over Celta Vigo on Saturday, lifting the LaLiga champs to fourth place.
Renan Lodi scores a goal in each half to give Atletico Madrid a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo.
Karim Benzema extends Real Madrid’s lead at the top of LaLiga after his late winner vs. Rayo Vallecano.
A late goal from Karim Benzema rescued a 1-0 win for Real Madrid at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday to extend their LaLiga advantage.
10-man Getafe rescues a 2-2 draw vs. Alaves thanks to Enes Unal’s accidental late goal.
Gabriel Paulista takes aim from distance and puts Valencia 1-0 up early over Mallorca.
Welcome to ESPN India Edition