(fixes typo in third para in word ‘tie’)
MADRID, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa scored his first Liga goal in six weeks to finish off a resilient Athletic Bilbao side in a 2-0 win on Sunday as they cut the gap to leaders Barcelona back to seven points.
Diego Simeone’s side were made to fight for the points in a typically physical encounter with the Basque side but French forward Kevin Gameiro broke the visitors’ resolve in the 67th minute with a low finish into the far bottom corner.
Costa, who missed the 4-1 win at FC Copenhagen in the Europa League last 32 tie in midweek with a knock, was denied a penalty in the first half but sealed the win with a near-post finish in the 80th after latching on to a through ball from Gameiro.
The former Chelsea striker had been sent off for jumping into the stand to celebrate with Atletico fans after netting his last league goal against Getafe on Jan. 6 and toned down his celebration this time as he had already been booked.
Atletico are second in the standings on 55 points behind Barca, who have 62 after beating Eibar 2-0 away on Saturday. Fourth-placed champions Real Madrid, who are 20 points adrift of top spot on 42, visit Real Betis later on Sunday. (Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris)