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Diego Costa’s Atleti woes continue with hamstring injury

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Diego Costa hasn’t scored a La Liga goal since February. That drought is set to remain unbroken for a significant amount of time.

The Spanish international has suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him out for an unspecified amount of time, leaving Atletico Madrid without its top target man. The team confirmed the injury on its official website, but did not give a timetable for his return, only that he is “pending further evaluation.” Local media has reported a potential three-week layoff for Costa, which is normal for hamstring injuries. Should it linger, which hamstring problems have the potential to do, it could potentially leave him sidelined for around four to six weeks.

Costa was hauled off after 69 minutes of Atletico’s 3-1 win over Club Brugge in the Champions League, replaced by 22-year-old midfielder Rodri. It’s unclear who will take over for Costa up front, but it’s possible that 30-year-old Nikola Kalinic – who has just 79 total minutes played so far this season after signing from AC Milan this past summer – could be the man to enter the fray. Star attacker Antoine Grizemann could also move forward to center forward, as he normally sits behind Costa in a second-striker role.

The 29-year-old has three goals on the season, but none have come in league play. He scored a pair in the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid way back on August 15, followed by Atletico’s equalizer in an eventual 2-1 come-from-behind win over Monaco in the Champions League group stage opener. Still, he is goalless in La Liga play despite playing 584 out of a possible 630 minutes.

With Costa out of goalscoring form, Atletico has struggled mightily as a whole to score goals. They have only lost one match this season in league play, but have three draws where they’ve scored a combined total of two goals.

Atleti wins UEFA Super Cup’s Madrid Derby

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Diego Costa scored twice in regulation and Saul Niguez notched a beautiful goal in extra time as Atletico Madrid beat Real Madrid 4-2 on Wednesday in the UEFA Super Cup.

Koke added a 103rd minute marker in Tallinn, Estonia, to round out the scoring for Atleti, which claimed its third Super Cup since 2010.

Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos scored for Real, which had won the last two Super Cups. The match pits the winners of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.

[ MORE: Premier League Club Power Rankings, Week 1 ]

It took less than a minute for Atleti to take the lead, with Costa winning a 50/50 over Sergio Ramos, then rounding Raphael Varane before blasting past Keylor Navas high and tight. Not a bad trio to count amongst your victims.

Real equalized when Gareth Bale sent a sensational back post cross to Karim Benzema, whose angled-back header was equally nice.

The 62nd minute saw Real get its first chance at the lead, with Juanfran‘s flailing arm striking a cross in he Atleti box. Ramos converted his stuttered run-up to make it 2-1.

Costa leveled the score after a glittering Juanfran move through the 18 and cutback to the top of the six.

Saul’s extra time marker was sensational, catching an 18-yard side volley with fury. The ball was always tailing away from the diving Navas, and set-up by Thomas Partey.

VIDEO: Ten best goals of the World Cup group stage

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We’re sure we’re missing some, and goodness knows we didn’t spend a terrible amount of time determining the order, so feel free to marvel at these 10 beautiful goals of the World Cup group stage and then tell us which ones we missed and which ones we sorted poorly.

[ MORE: Top 20 players of the World Cup group stage ]

We know Jesse Lingard, Adnan Januzaj, and Marcos Rojo won’t be jazzed with their omissions. Who else is missing?

10. Coutinho to Paulinho versus Serbia

9. Cheryshev’s cheeky chop

8. Diego Costa dances his way to glory

7. Golovin’s nasty free kick

6. Cristiano Ronaldo’s nastier free kick

5. Ricardo Quaresma sneaks a snappy goal before halftime

4. Philippe Coutinho‘s beauty against Switzerland

3. Wizardry from the unlikely boot of Nacho

2. Banega to Messi: Touch, touch, boom.

1. Kroos. Few words needed.

Spain gets win after Iran sees equalizer ruled out

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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  • Spain goal: Costa (54′)
  • Iranian goal disallowed
  • Next: Spain-Morocco, Portugal-Iran

Iran had an equalizer taken away via Video Assistant Referee and Spain picked up its first win of the 2018 World Cup with a 1-0 win in Kazan on Wednesday.

Diego Costa scored Spain’s goal, as La Furia Roja joined Portugal atop Group B on four points. Iran has three, while eliminated Morocco has yet to get a result.

Team Melli lost their chance to sit atop the group when Saeid Ezatolahi rebound was ruled to have come after an offside touch from a teammate.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Spain certainly had its chances in the first half hour, capped off by an attempted overhead kick from David Silva.

Man City’s 32-year-old attacker had a great deal of chances in the contest, and would see a deflected rip bound wide of the goal during three minutes of first half stoppag time.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

After Gerard Pique missed an in-tight chance to start the second half, Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand made an outstanding punch save on Isco before punching away the rebound bid.

Iran found its first true chance of the match in the 53rd minute, with Karim Ansarifard lashing into a shot from 15 yards that tore into the outside of the goal.

It was moments later that Spain went ahead, Costa getting a goal when a clearance bounding off his shin and into the net.

Mehdi Taremi flicked a header wide of the goal, and Iran thought it had an equalizer through Saeid Ezatolahi only for VAR to step in and call offside on the previous Iranian to touch the ball.

It was off, but only just.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

Beiranvand was again on the scene for a 70th minute goal mouth scramble following a drawn-up corner kick by Spain.

Taremi pounded a header over the goal after a Vahid Amiri nutmeg of Pique led to a back post cross.

Hat trick hero Ronaldo drags Portugal to draw with Spain

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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  • Spain goals: Costa (24′, 55′), Nacho (58′)
  • Portugal goals: Ronaldo (4′, 44′, 88′)
  • Next: Spain-Iran, Portugal-Morocco

Cristiano Ronaldo’s amazing 88th minute free kick finished his hat trick and answered Nacho Fernandez’s magical second-half goal in a 3-3 draw between Spain and Portugal on Friday.

It was a match befitting the hype as the World Cup began for both sides in Sochi, with Ronaldo’s first two goals canceled out by the same from Diego Costa.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Portugal earned a penalty inside the first three minutes when Ronaldo dragged his leg to catch Nacho Fernandez inside the 18, and the megastar’s picture perfect PK got David De Gea going the wrong way for a 1-0 lead.

A counter attack gave Portugal a prime chance for 2-0, with Bernardo Silva carving a ball around the Spanish defense and Ronaldo playing one touch for Goncalo Guedes, only to see the youngster take a superfluous touch.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

Costa made it 1-1, bodying off Pepe and then cooking his mark wth a pair of cuts before belting a low shot beyond the reach of Rui Patricio.

Andres Iniesta dragged a low shot just beyond the far post, the ball crawling by the mark.

Ronaldo grabbed his second in the 44th minute, this one a howler from David De Gea.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

After Costa made it 2-2, Fernandez somehow combined power and touch with an otherworldly strike to give Spain its first lead.

I mean, really man…

Few words needed for what happened next: