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Simeone sticks injured Godin up front, Godin scores late winner

Simeone had used all three substitutions and sent the defender into the mixer rather than play on with 10 men.

ATHLETICO MADRID HERO Diego Godin has revealed that a masterstroke from his manager paid off in a big way on Saturday.

Diego Simeone instructed the defender to play up front for the closing stages of their dramatic 3-2 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, primarily because the 32-year-old was injured.

Defender Godin damaged his thigh trying to prevent Inaki Williams scoring his second goal to put Athletic ahead after Thomas Partey had pulled Atleti level.

Simeone had used all three substitutions by that point and told the Uruguayan to see the rest of the game out in attack and to do what he could rather than finishing out the game down a man. 

That decision paid off handsomely as captain Godin plundered a stoppage-time winner after Rodrigo had levelled for a second time in the 80th minute.

“In the Williams goal, I hurt myself in the sprint, I felt a sharp pain,” he told beIN Sports . “I went to go off but Cholo [Simeone] told me to go up front.

“We are going crazy with the win and this makes us all happy, along with the fans.

“We fought to the end and we were rewarded.”

The victory moves Atleti up to second in La Liga, one point behind Barcelona, who play Real Betis on Sunday, and Godin hopes the latest victory can help spark the club back to the top of the table in the coming weeks. 

“This is important to keep fighting up the top of the table,” he is quoted as saying by ESPN .

“We knew it would be a difficult game, with many players missing, after a big week for us.

“But we will be reinforced a lot by winning like this. This lifts and excites the fans, and us players too.”

Godin will have a chance to heal over the international break but could still face a race for fitness ahead of a clash with Barcelona on November 24 in the first match back after the break. 

The club also face a vital Champions League clash with Monaco following the Barcelona game, with a chance to qualify for the knockout rounds of the competition on the lines. 

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