The titleholders would’ve dropped two crucial points if not for the Frenchman’s strike in the dying moments of the game.
Thomas Lemar earned manager Diego Simeone’s praise after rescuing Atletico Madrid against Espanyol at the RCDE Stadium on Sunday.
It looked like Atletico Madrid and Espanyol were about to settle for a draw, with the scoreline tied at 1-1 until late into stoppage time. Raul de Tomas had put the hosts on the front foot five minutes before the break while Yannick Carrasco had equalized for the visitors in the second half.
Lemar, however, had the final say in the game as he scored in the 99th minute to ensure his side snatch all three points and move up to second place in the La Liga standings.
“He’s in a really good moment,” Simeone said of the 25-year-old after the match (via ESPN).
“He had a digestive problem with the national team and lost three or four kilos and that’s why I had doubts and thought about keeping him back for Wednesday.
“Let’s hope he can repeat this. He is the player we went looking for at Monaco, he is the player the team needs. He is direct, he shoots with the right and left, he works.
“He is a really important piece of the team. Last season he grew a lot but lacked goals. We hope this season he will add goals, like today.”