Aiming to move swiftly on from a shock 1-0 loss against Elche last time out, Atletico Madrid started out with a clear sense of attacking purpose, and Antoine Griezmann spearheaded a flurry of early chances, most notably clipping the crossbar with a cross-come-shot.
Spurred on by a vocal home support clamouring to see their heroes go above rivals Real Madrid, Diego Simeone's men didn’t let up on their electric start, and Alvaro Morata had the ball in the net twice, only for each effort to be ruled out for offside. Griezmann then retook the spotlight and struck the woodwork again, when he drove at the Osasuna defence and had Sergio Herrera beaten with a low strike that clipped the post.
Despite the early threats, Osasuna held firm and regained stability as the first half wore on, though the visitors were unable to get into promising positions where they could punish Atletico for their earlier wastefulness. In fact, Chimy Avila’s 25-yard strike, which flew over Ivo Grbic’s crossbar, was the closest Los Rojillos came to an opener.
And that proved costly just as half-time approached, when Atletico flew forward with a piercing counter-attack and Griezmann completed a flowing move, crossing for Yannick Carrasco to fire into the net for his third goal in two matches against Osasuna.
Having claimed just one point on the road after conceding first in La Liga this season, the odds were now firmly stacked against Osasuna completing a comeback, but Aimar Oroz almost gave Los Rojillos the spark they needed when his deflected shot was saved by Grbic.
That aside, Atletico continued to look dangerous on the counter as the second-half minutes wore on, and Saul Níguez finally delivered the killer blow as he controlled a loose ball in the area and lashed an unstoppable strike high into the net past Herrera.
The hosts continued to cut through the tiring Osasuna backline with ease after that killer second goal, and Angel Correa added a late third by curling in a first-time shot from Rodrigo de Paul’s through ball. An eighth straight home victory helped Atletico leapfrog their city rivals into second place with a one-point advantage, and Simeone will hope their noisy neighbors drop points in their forthcoming fixture against Valencia.
Meanwhile, a third league defeat in four leaves Osasuna outside the European places by two points with just three matches remaining, and Jagoba Arrasate will be concerned by his side’s dwindling form this late in the campaign.