La Liga: Atlético 3 – 1 Real Zaragoza

An Adrián brace and a Domínguez header relieve pressure in the Vicente Calderón

Adrián with two goals against Zaragoza(

Adrián with two goals against Zaragoza

On the day for the fans, Atlético secured a 2-0 victory over Real Zaragoza.

With the pressure piling on Gregorio Manzano, the team desperately needed a positive result.

Goals by Adrián and Álvaro Domínguez in the first half separated the sides and made for our first win in eight games.

Manzano made three changes to the side that lost 3-0 to Athletic Bilbao in mid-week.

Domínguez and Mario returned to the starting XI, as well as Adrián, who replaced Reyes. The Andalusian wasn’t even in the 18-man squad, after falling out with Manzano during Thursday’s thumping in San Mamés.

The coach tweaked his formation and lined up with a 4-3-1-2. Initially the players seemed lost and struggled not to get in each other’s way, which made for an uneventful first period.

When Atlético created their first opportunity after 20 minutes, they immediately scored. Arda Turan carefully placed a cross on Adrián‘s head, and the striker left Roberto without a chance with a powerful header from twelve yards out.

Arda played a midfield role today and saw more of the ball than in previous games. Along with Diego, the Turk ran our midfield and orchestrated most of our attacks.

After half an hour Diego controlled a pass from midfield, but the Brazilian was forced wide and was unable to shoot, only winning a foul. The ensuing free kick was delivered to the far post by Gabi. Diego Godín brought it back to the near post where his partner in defence, Álvaro Domínguez, headed in the 2-0.

Thibaut Courtois was called to action when Hélder Postiga almost immediately struck back for the visitors. It was one of the few times that Zaragoza appeared near the Belgium goalkeeper.

During half time former Atleti coach and now Zaragoza boss Javier Aguirre brought on two substitutions, one of them Rubén Micael. The Portuguese midfielder was signed by the Rojiblancos this summer and is on loan for the Aragonese outfit.

After the break Luis García curled a free kick just over the crossbar, while Diego Godín attempted a spectacular bicycle kick which went off target.

In the 66th minute Sílvio was replaced by Perea, who received a standing ovation from the fans at the Vicente Calderón. Luis Amaranto made his 291st appearance, equalling Jorge Griffa as the foreigner with most caps for the club in all competitions.

Both sides hardly created any opportunities in the second half. When the crowd finally lifted off their seats again it was because Lanzaro almost beat his own goalkeeper. The corner kick that ensued was headed wide by Mario Suárez.

A minute later Atleti did get into a lucrative situation, but Radamel Falcao went for his own glory rather than using Adrián and Diego who were next to him.

Falcao again was isolated from his team-mates. The Colombian’s link-up play was poor and his colleagues were unable to find him. When he did get a chance he headed into the hands of Roberto.

The former Atlético ‘keeper was beaten a third time when Adrián slotted the ball underneath him after great work by Filipe.

Adrián’s brace should have decided the match, but during a complete lapse in concentration Hélder Postiga was allowed to head in a corner kick to make it 3-1. It was only the second goal we’ve conceded at home this season.

Shortly before the end there was an opportunity for Falcao, but his shot went wide. Diego too had a big chance to score, but Roberto did very well to shut him out.

In the final minutes Arda and Adrián combined with two backheels and almost enabled Falcao to score. Out of pure frustration the record signing kicked the post while the ball was still in play, and missed Roberto’s save on a shot by Koke.

Our victory over Zaragoza is the first time we’ve picked up the full three points since the 21st of September. Next up for Atleti is our home match against Udinese on Thursday.

Line-up: Courtois; Sílvio (“66 Perea), Godín, Domínguez, Filipe; Gabi, Mario (“78 Tiago), Diego (“87 Koke); Adrián, Falcao and Arda Turan.

Goals: 1-0 Adrián (“19); 2-0 Domínguez (“31); 3-0 Adrián (“75); 3-1 Helder Postiga (“78)

  • Mais

    pheww lol

    there were some moments of magic today…adrian and arda together..beautiful. today showed exactly how much we need to develop our other forwards, we need dangerous players on the wings, and even diego needs to develop into a reliable scorer

    ‘FREE KOKE’ should be a t-shirt. just sayin.

  • 7th

    well, the performance was not that bad,and not good too. if we were up against stronger side, we would not be able to control the game.

    great win today,and PLEASE MANZANO,TRY KOKE.

  • davie

    thought it was a decent enough performance looked solid in defence and created some good chances think everyone had a good game but think filipe arda and diego had really good games

  • Arjit

    This thing about falcao is…he had HULK in porto. Who simply runs games and puts in very simple balls to falcao who always positions himself perfectly for those situations. We don’t have HULK but that doesn’t mean falcao is useless. Falcao is a great scorer, but he needs someone to also take defenders off him. All the defenders can gang up on falcao because lets face it, no else really scores unless its a set peice. I was happy with andrian today, now we have more than just one single goal threat who is double sometimes tripple marked by defenders.

  • starvs

    Falcao was off today but was getting the type of balls in that he needs to be dangerous. If he continues to get ball like he did tonight he will start scoring again. The early crosses were very key.

  • starvs

    I booed so hard when Tiago came on for Mario in like the 70th minute when we were up 2-0. That’s the perfect time for Koke to come on.


  • 92

    How great did the team play today without the presence of Reyes, so there’s no doubt that indeed he is causing problems inside the dressing room, you can tell by how the team seemed to be in harmony, I just want to highlight how good the team play today and when I say the team I mean the whole group, from Courtois and the back line, Godin really impress me today hope he keeps improving and recovers his best level, Filipe was a dagger down the left flank, the midfielders; Mario Suarez did good job and Gabi, he did a great job also and recorded another assist, Diego and Turan were great too, Falcao did a decent job and finally we have the man of the match; Adrian, who was really impressive, also Manzano deserves a honorific, because he turned things around, at least for this match, he made important line up changes such as leaving Miranda in the bench and placing Adrian in the right wing he also did strategic ones, changin the scheme to a 4-2-3-1 formation, seems Manzano heard my prayers, but the most important change he did was not letting Reyes to disregard his authority as head coach and not calling him for the match, that talks good about Manzano who I said he needed continuity to make the team work, I also said lately that he needed to leave Atleti for good, I’m glad he didn’t, from now on lets hope the team keeps upswing and has good perormances like tonight’s game.

  • palc

    Tiago comes in. Gives away a corner on his first touch of the ball. Zaragoza scores. I like you as a professional Tiago, but you suck. Your time is up. FREE KOKE.

  • palc

    Thumbs up to Filipe, Gabi, Mario, Arda, Godin and our Man of the match ADRIAN.

  • 92

    And yes, Koke needs to get more minutes because there’s no doubt he is the future of Atleti.

  • dgsozkan

    It’s obvious that starting the game with both Adrian increases team’s offensive strength. That’s not a surprise , we have already talk about that in previous topics. Thank god,Manzano has understood it too.

    By the way, it’s impossible to disagree with you about Reyes.He is a talented player for no doubt but we need a team in a good harmony.

    When will Koke gets the minutes he deserves? I’m sick and tired of saying this, he should play more!!!

  • atletisrael

    No dought that the real change came from the lineup and formation. Alvaro and adrian was needed at both ends in the last games and the scorelines shows it. The 4-3-3 is not working!!!

    Reyes is not needed in this formation… He should go for his sake…

    Free Koke!

  • DJ_ZA

    Well, sighs of relief all around. That win has taken away (my) anxiety…. or was that the GNT’s.

    Have we turned the corner? or was yesterday just a bit of (Manzano) luck? Guess the real test comes in the next 2 or 3 matches [Actually Real is the 4th match incl EL but don’t want to cause any panic and doom the resurrection – or is it Resurreccion – of Atleti just yet……. (I am) pathetic on so many levels (lol)]

    Back to yesterday… don’t want to single out any specific performances cause as soon as I compliment players they put in rubbish performances next match.( If only the opposite were true.. I’d berate players all the time)… BUT way to go Adrian! So happy he scored. (5 much needed points in prediction league – I’ve been as bad as Atleti in racking up points). Hopefully this puts a bit more fear in opposition defence and they’ll stop focussing on Falcao so much. If not, I’m happy we spent € 40 million on a decoy and € 0 on our true goalscorer, Adrian.

    Reyes exclusion – I don’t deny that I’m NOT impartial when it comes to Reyes, regardless of any talent he may have. If he never makes it back onto the field in an Atleti shirt, I won’t lose sleep. I don’t think that’s gonna happen too soon though.

    Then the mind of Manzano … Is there a mindreader among you Rojiblanco fans? If you’re out there, PLEASE HELP. The rest of us would REALLY like to know why Koke isn’t on the field for more than 5 minutes. (Note to self – Koke in, means Mario or Diego out OR change to formation which means either no Adrian or Falcao OR do we drop a defender for the extra midfielder?… tough call?)

    Almost forgot, well done Perea. Never thought you’d get there (hehehehe).

    And next Udinese… oh no, I’m starting to feel anxious again….will we stick to the match-winning selection/formation? What will Manzano serve up on Thursday…. where is that mindreader????

  • Gert

    I think Manzano sees Koke as a replacement for Diego.
    Whenever Diego’s out, he’ll put Koke in.
    (same goes for Tiago-Mario & Assuncao-Gabi I think)


  • ural

    atletico stick with this line up.reyes use to good player but not any more,arda turan played well and good performance from adrian.

  • Los Colchonero

    I’m surprised no one mentioned the heart warming support Perea got when he entered. He’s had a tough time, but he’s Atleti’s through and through.

  • DJ_ZA

    Gert, you got my point! While we’d all like to see Koke get more playing time, it’s just a bit tough to include him in the starting line-up when Manzano sees him as a competitor for Diego’s spot. Is Manzano right to have this view?

  • 92

    Well, I think one the main reasons why Manzano doesn’t give Koke enough playing time is obviously a lack of confidence in the boy, also we all know Manzano doesn’t really likes to work with young players, that’s his thing, so I say it’s no use in ask ourselves why the heck Manzano doesn’t give Koke more playing, so I stick with Mais idea; we should all make “Free Koke” T-shirts and march around the Vicente Calderon, and perhaps Manzano will change his mind.

  • 92

    Agree with Los Colchonero, Perea deserves a honorific mention, after all 291 matches as an Atleti players aren’t easy to achieve, Congrats captain Perea!, may he keeps wearing Atlet’s icaptain armband for many years.

  • starvs

    I think Koke is as good a replacement for Gabi as he is for Diego. He seems less offensive than Diego and more general midfieldy like Gabi.

    Either way, I have an idea, it’s sort of novel so bear with me….FREE KOKE.

  • nice to see atleti score again,I wondered why u didnt buy another striker??Aguero,Forlan both were prolific in front of goal.Falcao is only aguero’s replacement,where is the forlan’s replacement??Another striker is a must.and let me suggest a name,stevan Jovetic

  • 92

    Chelsea fan!, well, theoretically Falcao is supposed to be the replacement of both Forlan and Aguero since Manzano changed the 4-4-2 into a 4-3-3 using two wingers and just one forward upfront, also, Adrian can be considered Forlan replacement although Adrian is barely beginning with his career while Forlan already had made a name for himself when he joined Atleti, so you can’t really compare them.

  • 92

    Chelsea Fan!, I agree about Jovetic, he is a great player but I’ve heard is Chelsea who wants him and I think Chelsea has already enough players but if Chelsea buys Jovetic then I think we could have instead Salomon Kalou who I think is a great player and he hasn’t got many chances this season, do you think you can loan us Kalou for at least half a season?!, I think it would be great news for Atleti to sign a player like Kalou or Jovetic.

  • 92,I would probably give kalou to you for free,he is so frustrating to watch