Diego Costa

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Costa and Felix score as Atletico Madrid ends winless streak

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MADRID (AP) Diego Costa and Joao Felix scored a goal each as Atletico Madrid defeated promoted Mallorca 2-0 on Wednesday to halt a three-game winless streak and move back to the top of the Spanish league standings.

Costa scored his first goal of the season with a first-half header in Mallorca, and Felix sealed the victory after halftime.

Atletico has 13 points from six matches, one point more than Athletic Bilbao, which lost the lead after being held to a 1-1 draw at last-place Leganes.

Real Madrid can move past both Atletico and Athletic if it beats promoted Osasuna at home later on Wednesday.

Atletico hosts Real Madrid on Saturday.

Diego Simeone’s team had drawn its last two matches, against Celta Vigo in the league and Juventus in the Champions League, both at home. It lost at Real Sociedad in its previous league match.

Atletico played with 10 men against Mallorca from the 77th minute as striker Alvaro Morata was sent off following an altercation with an opponent. Morata had replaced Costa in the 69th.

Costa, who missed the beginning of the season because of an injury, opened the scoring with a firm header in the 26th. Felix added to the lead in the 64th after his shot from inside the area deflected on a defender and went over the Mallorca goalkeeper. It was the second goal of the season for Felix, the 19-year-old Portugal forward who joined from Benfica in the offseason.

Japanese teenager Takefusa Kubo, playing for Mallorca on a loan from Real Madrid, nearly scored for the hosts with a second-half shot that hit the post.

Mallorca, 17th in the 20-team standings with four points, has lost two in a row and hasn’t won since the opener against second-to-last-place Eibar.

UNBEATEN ATHLETIC

Athletic Bilbao took the lead at Leganes with a penalty converted by Raul Garcia in the 59th, but Oscar Rodriguez equalized two minutes later with a well-placed free kick.

The result kept Athletic as one of the three teams without a loss, along with Real Madrid and Osasuna. Leganes is yet to win after six matches and has only two points from six matches.

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Atleti phenom Felix upstages MLS All Stars

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It’s not about the result nor even the action, but Major League Soccer’s All-Stars lost their third-straight outing on Wednesday, a 3-0 defeat to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

Really, though, it’s about Joao Felix, the 19-year-old $140 million star who posted a goal and an assist in just over a half hour of play.

[ MORE: Lampard praises Pulisic ]

The All Stars had most of the ball and few of the chances, with Marcos Llorente and Diego Costa joining the score sheet during a wet match in Orlando.

Llorente took a back heel from impressive 19-year-old Rodrigo Riquelme and finished his chance to make it 1-0, but Felix’s second half was the story.

Felix tore into a bouncing ball to swerve a shot off Nick Rimando and into the goal, then sent a delightful ball through to Costa for a suave finish deep in stoppage time.

History of MLS All Star Game
1996: East 3-2 West
1997: East 5-4 West
1998: USA 6-1 World
1999: East 4-6 West
2000: East 9-4 West
2001: East 6-6 West
2002: MLS 3-2 USMNT
2003: MLS 3-1 Chivas Guadalajara
2004: East 3-2 West
2005: MLS 4-1 Fulham
2006: MLS 1-0 Chelsea
2007: MLS 2-0 Celtic
2008: MLS 3-2 West Ham United
2009: MLS 1-1 Everton (Everton wins in PKs)
2010: MLS 2-5 Manchester United
2011: MLS 0-4 Manchester United
2012: MLS 3-2 Chelsea
2013: MLS 1-3 AS Roma
2014: MLS 2-1 Bayern Munich
2015: MLS 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
2016: MLS 1-2 Arsenal
2017: MLS 1-1 (2-4 PKs) Real Madrid
2018: MLS 1-1 (3-5 PKs) Juventus
2019: MLS 0-1 Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid roster for MLS All-Star Game includes Felix

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Major League Soccer fans will get a good luck at one of the hottest prospects in world soccer when the MLS All Stars take on Atletico Madrid in next week’s MLS All Star Game.

Joao Felix, the $142 million 19-year-old, is among the roster announced by Diego Simeone for the match.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

Felix scored 20 times with 11 assists in 40 matches for Benfica before moving to Atleti in the summer. Those numbers include a hat trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarterfinals first leg.

The other stars will be there, too, provided no transfers happen in the interim. Koke, Thomas Lemar, Diego Costa, and Saul Niguez are in the squad.

New Atleti defender Kieran Trippier and longtime El Tri hero Hector Herrera will also be sure to help drive attendance in Orlando City.

The full roster is here.

Costa suspended eight games for ref insult, arm grab

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Mothers are off limits.

Diego Costa will miss the rest of Atletico Madrid’s season as a result of the red card he received for verbal abuse of a referee in a loss to Barcelona last week.

[ MORE: Smalling, McTominay okay with result ]

The referee’s report claims Costa told official Gil Manzano that he’d do something to disgusting to his mother.

The 8-game ban includes four for insulting Manzano and four more for touching his arm receiving the red card, according to Marca, which says:

Costa and the club had fought against the punishment, with the player insisting that he had said “I (expletive) on my mother”, but the Committee have consulted Manzano for clarification and reached their decision.

Have to love the “no, no, you misunderstood. I was saying I’d do something gross to my mother. Not your mother. My mother.”

If it makes Costa and Atleti feel better, just pretend the suspension is for any number of awful thing he’s done on the field which have gone unpunished.

Costa has five goals and three assists in 21 matches this season.

Atleti can appeal the ban, sitting nine points back of leaders Barcelona and two in front of rivals Real Madrid.

Costa could miss the rest of the season after red card v. Barcelona

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Diego Costa has had a rough 2018/2019 season back at Atletico Madrid, and his frustrations appeared to boiled over on Saturday against Barcelona.

After failing to receive a free kick, Costa ran over to the match official Jesús Gil Manzano and began to shout at him. Per AS in Spain, there’s disagreement over what Costa actually said, but Manzano said in his match report that Costa used some pretty harsh language – to put it nicely – at him, necessitating the red card.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

According to the AS report, if La Liga follows the letter of its laws, if someone uses “insulting or offensive language” at any of the referees, they could be handed a four to 12 match ban. With just seven games remaining, it could see Costa’s season end prematurely. In addition, Costa grabbed the arm of Manzano on multiple occasions to try and pursuade Manzano to not give his teammates yellow cards. Grabbing an official could also lead to a four to 12 game ban.

Regardless of the outcome, it’s an ignominious end of the season for Costa. He’s scored just two goals in 16 games (14 starts) in La Liga this season, and he’s being overtaken by new signing Alvaro Morata up top for both club and country.

Costa hasn’t been the same since his spat with former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was revealed, which led Costa to miss six months of soccer while waiting for a transfer away from Chelsea in 2017. He received the move he wanted to Atletico Madrid, but it hasn’t come off as well as he played at Chelsea or Atletico Madrid before that. The 30-year-old may be wondering if he’ll still be able to get one last big contract before he retires.