Europa League: Atlético 4 – 0 Udinese

Fantastic Adrián guides Atleti to a clear victory

Falcao and Adrián celebrate against Udinese(AS.com)

Falcao and Adrián celebrate against Udinese
(AS.com)

Atlético Madrid are back on top of Group I of the Europa League after a convincing 4-0 victory over Udinese.

The Italians rested several first team players and we’re unable to stop Adrián, who scored his second brace in five days.

Gregorio Manzano made just two changes to the team that starred in our 3-1 victory over Zaragoza. Captains Antonio López and Luis Perea came in for fullback duo Filipe and Sílvio.

Atleti got off to a great start and Handanovic was forced to a save after just five minutes when Falcao showed his intent.

Shortly after, the Colombian saw his header saved from the goalline by a Udinese defender. The Colombian has been unfortunate with his finishing these last weeks, but he did enable his partner in attack to score two excellent goals.

Two minutes earlier Falcao had created space for Adrián to run into. The Spaniard was assisted perfectly by Arda Turan and scored with a great finish after holding off two defenders.

And the Atleti storm continued. After just 12 minutes the Rojiblancos were leading 2-0. Adrián headed in his and Atleti’s second from a cross by Antonio López.

The visitors had lined up without their key players and those on the pitch seemed to spend more time sitting down rather than running, with injuries slowing down the pace of the game.

The Zebrette were almost gifted a goal, but Fabbrini forgot to unwrap his present. Diego Godín lost possession on the edge of his own area and Fabbrini picked up the loose ball. But his shot lacked power and precision, and the Italian even injured himself in the process.

In the 37th minute Atlético’s attacking trio created a masterpiece. Adrián played in Diego from the sideline, rushed inside the box to receive Falcao’s backheel and found himself in a perfect position to net his third goal. Instead, Adrián faked the shot and laid it off for Diego, who slotted the ball into the back of the net from close range.

Just three days earlier Filipe was spot on when he said Adrián is too nice to score a hat-trick and instead will look to enable a team-mate to score. The Brazilian couldn’t be more right and the striker is yet to score thrice in one match for Atleti, but scoring four times in the space of a few days is no mean feat either.

Shortly before the break Antonio Floro Flores had a good opportunity, but the goal scorer from the first leg shot wide of Thibaut Courtois’ goal.

The second half was a dull affair until Abdi almost brought down the woodwork with a ferocious shot from outside the box. Atleti immediately punished Udinese as Falcao finally got the goal he was looking for.

The 40 million euro man received the ball just outside of the area and dribbled past two players, before blasting it past Handanovic.

It’s Falcao’s 19th goal in 18 Europa League appearances.

In the 70th minute Koke replaced Diego, and the youngster came incredibly close to scoring within seconds of coming on. After Falcao failed to beat his marker, the ball fell before Koke’s feet. The 19-year-old didn’t hesitate and fired, but his shot whistled past the wrong side of the post.

Some minutes later Falcao out-muscled his opponent, but his shot was saved by Handanovic.

The fans went home after witnessing a strong display by Atleti on a cold and rainy Thursday night. No more goals were scored as the match finished 4-0.

Next up for Atleti in the Europa League is Celtic, who beat Rennes (3-1), but first we have a trip to Getafe coming up on Sunday.

Line-up: Courtois; Perea, Godín, Domínguez, López; Gabi, Mario, Arda Turan, Diego (“70 Koke); Falcao (“83 Pizzi) and Adrián (“77 Salvio).

Goals: 1-0 Adrián (“7); 2-0 Adrián (“12); 3-0 Diego (“37); 4-0 Falcao (“67).


  • Mais

    THEY FREED KOKE!

    great game, we need to buy diego
    im more and more impressed with arda as well, such quality

    onward!

  • palc

    Lets sell Reyes and buy Diego with the money. Grande Adrian.

  • 92

    What a game!, another great performance by the whole team, Diego was great but Adrian was OUTSTANDING, the defense was great also, that’s why we recorded a clean sheet, unfortunately I would have like to see Koke get more minutes and score, I honestly don’t think 20 minutes were enough since the match was already defined since the first half, Koke could’ve perfectly played the whole second half, and not only Koke, Salvio and Pizzi too, with that said I think is clear that Manzano doesn’t think of Koke as a game changer ,and also, he is not gonna give plenty of minutes to Koke this season, and let’s not even talk about Pulido, he could’ve even played the entire match, since Udinese offensive was not threat today.
    So Ringo, Pulido is not the only one whose career is gonna be affected by Manzano, also Koke’s, so it think the club should really consider loaning Pulido or Koke in the winter, because they clearly aren’t gonna get sufficient minutes as long as Manzano is Atleti’s head coach.

  • Mais

    i dont know if we should be so worried about koke’s minutes…its still early in the season and hes gone from like 2 to 20, plus his performance right off the bat today will prolly resonate with manzano…i have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of koke

  • cosy

    Good game,i guess we will see how good player is Arda,he is not a best player,but he is clever enough,watch the game and see how he is creative,he is not selfish as well,he plays not for spectacular but for the team…i liked him alot…

  • starvs

    No, it’s all happening to fast, don’t want the t-shirt idea to become irrelevant before I even get the first sample!

    Adrian seems to make this team work, the partner Falcao needed. Diego was also great obviously, and Arda played well. Hopefully this offensive momentum can be kept up.

  • Aagi

    Very promising display from the team even though Udinese played with a lot of reserve players. I like the team without Reyes, it seems like the team is a lot more combined and not ruined by selfish Reyes. I see that a lot of you mention Koke and his lack of playing time, i think he is a bright talent but that we need to take it slow, because he is not ready to play every match full time. He should be integrated slowly with more and more playing time. When we play Copa Del Rey he should get the chance as a starter.

  • DavidSF

    Off topic, but anyone notice that Falcao is a legit 3-4 inches shorter than Adrian and only an inch taller than Messi?

    What does that make him 5’8? Makes me question his aerial prowess- being that its one of his major attributes!!!

  • Mais

    i dont think it hinders him, he does make a lot of contact with the ball in the air…

    starvs, i think ur good until koke becomes a regular starter, maybe even at least as long as tiago is still on the squad

  • starvs

    Yeah Falcao is not tall at all considering how beastly he is with his head, but he can jump like crazy.

  • Ringo

    like a tiger? 😛
    I see the Koke problem, but he still has a close possible future here. It seems Manzano started to prefer him over Tiago recently, so who knows what’ll happen?

    I hope Manzano can keep the team at this level of play, it’s just too Atleti to forget how to play football in the weekend.

  • 7th

    when koke entered, I was happy, when his first touch, my eyes went wide open, his first shot and nearly a goal, my eyes got pucked out of its socket.

    that was a great performances, hoped it would be against stronger side. today, udinese gave us their b-team.

    hope we continue the run on sunday.

  • k14

    I think u guys are being unfair to manzano, with your “free” koke campaign.
    U can’t expect him to develop young talents over results when most atleti fans were willing to axe his head down for those “poor” draw results.

  • Urban

    Great display. I missed that kind of atletico a lot.

    Arda is our best transfer in years. Diego is also great. What I like the most about them is how hard they work, also in defence.

    When Diego came I was worried he will be our prima balerina on the field, just waiting for the ball and trying to dribble past the whole field. Its exactly the opossite. Amazing.

    And Adri also deserves all the praise. He sees everything on the field. Reyes has got himself tough competition, but I wouldnt already discard la Perla – he is tons of talent and if he starts to perform now like he did under QSF we would serously think about getting back into top 4.

  • atletisrael

    K14 I think the campaign was due to poor teasults. Why not pushing youngsters if ur stars are underperforming.

    WOW guys. The team has given me a lot of pleasure yesterday. I couldn’t watch the game so I hope the performance was actually good and solid, but the second clean sheet in a week is cool as hell!

    I am concerned about miranda and godin doing a lot of mistakes on defence. It seems that joao is irresponsible with the ball and godin is leaving spaces and being reckless about going toward forwards and the ball… I’m happy that it makes Alvaro the best CB but we do need a solid option for Perea.

    Free Koke, regardless.

  • Davide

    Aagi//

    I have to disagree my friend. If you think Koke needs to take it easy and integrate slowly, than so does Mario, Gabi amd Tiago.

    Koke is more than ready for regular first team. He has shown it over and over again under Quique. He’s better than both Mario and Tiago.

    Koke is the technical link we are missing between defensive positions and Diego. He does not only support defensive midfield areas, but he also creates space with his technical ability and makes forward runs into the box to support attacks.

    He is complete box-to-box youngster, probably the best young player in Spain in his position, and bossing national youth teams in the midfield. I would pick Koke anyday over Mario, Tiago and even Gabi. Koke needs to be be one of the two pivotes ASAP.

    Koke is our Wilshere, set him free!

  • RojiBlanco

    I don’t want Koke to be a second Camacho. Let the guy rule our midfield!

  • Urban

    Koke should be Gabi’s replacement. He is not a player like Diego.

    I guess we should buy back Camacho this year to replace Assuncao, not offer new contract to Tiago and buy Diego.

    We would have following midfield then – Mario/Camacho, Gabi/Koke, Diego/Arda if he is not on the wing, he goes down to the middle often anyways and he is doing great as playmaker.

  • DavidSF

    The only thing I can point to is his break out game against Sevilla!

  • Aagi

    Davide//
    I totally agree with you, Koke has the potential to surpass the level of both Gabi and Mario, but at this very important stage of the season we need some players with more routine to anchor the midfield. As you other guys mention, Koke is not an attacking midfielder nor an defensive, he is a classic box-to-box player with skill in both ends. But Manzano would have to take a big chance letting Koke play full time in this spot, and i personally think he is not ready for the pressure yet. I hope Manzano will play him full time in the coming rounds of Copa Del Rey and then slowly introduce him to more and more playing time in the league. At the start of next season i believe he will be ready to play as a starter. By the way, thank god that Manzano has stopped playing Mario, Gabi and Tiago at the same time! Arda and Diego or Reyes should fill in for each other at the attacking position, we’ve got too good wingers like Salvio, Pizzi, Juanfran to have midfield with Mario, Gabi and Tiago playing at the same time.

  • atletisrael

    You are absolutely right. We have two of the most offensive wingers in the back, Silvio & Felipe. There should be at least two players on the field who can master the middle offensively, and tiago and mario are not one of those players…

    Took Manzano a while to get that.

  • 92

    @Aagi, dude, Koke was integrated to the first team last year, also last year was his breakthrough season, he is ready for pressure and for big games, he is now a reality, in case you forget he played 17 matches last season, 9 as a starter, also the first goal he scored was in a very though game againts Sevilla, in that match Atleti was losing and seemed lost until Koke did a wall with Forlan to tie the score, so Koke is ready for big games, to be a starter and play the full 90 minutes.

  • 92

    @K14, it’s clear you don’t have faith in young players, you think Joel and Asenjo don’t deserve a second chance, and you are implying Koke doesn’t deserves to be a starter, and I repeat, Koke isn’t not a talent he is a reality, that’s why last season he played 17 games, 9 as a starter, and I can assure that NO ONE in the whole squad feels more the Atleti jersey than Koke and the other canteranos.

  • Aagi

    92//
    I’m simply just writing my view on the topic. I love when the canteros break into the team like Dominguez or De Gea, but i still believe there is a good reason behind Manzanos decision whether to make Koke a starter or not. I watched the majority of the games with Koke last year in which you clearly can see the talent, but i still think he is more talent than reality as a starter. The problem is he is too good to be loaned out and still not quite ready too start. But very soon he will be, and i’m sure he will be a blossoming star next season.

  • 92

    I respect your opinions and I think Koke has become a reality and also, earned his spot in the starting 11 since last season, and with his performances in Colombia about 3 months ago, I think he is ready to be a starter, also, the only reason Manzano doesn’t start Koke is plain simple, he doesn’t know how to work with young players, that’s simply not his thing, there are managers who are good at promoting and developing young players and there’s also managers who just don’t know how to work with young players, unfortunately Manzano is not good at working with young players.

  • k14

    @92, Its not a matter of faith, just being logical here, and talking about second chances, you know that the squad train every day with the coach.
    And I believe that those sessions are a better indicator to the coach than those 90mins at the end of the week.
    I also find illogical to say that if koke isnt ready, than that also means mario, tiago and gabi arent ready aswell.
    Koke is a 19year old with less than a half season experience, while the least of those 3 have a 5year experience on the starting eleven not just being on the first squad.

  • 92

    k14, of course all the squad trains with coach everyday that’s pretty obvious, it’s also very obvious that if Atleti signed an GK like Courtois in the summer was because he was clearly gonna be the starting GK for the rest of the season without even training, you make it sound like Joel and Asenjo are slacking during training, and with all due respect, you and I don’t have a clue how is the day to day training of the squad, who trains hard and who doesn’t, so you can’t really say Joel and Asenjo or anybody else from the squad is not doing enough merits to be starter during the weekend, I can assure all the players are working their socks off to get a spot in the starting 11.
    About mario, tiago and gabi, I never said they were not ready, after all they are more mature than Koke, they are just being inconsistent which is something different.
    And yeah, Koke may be inexperienced and young, but he is a very centered and mature boy, and all the matches that I’ve seen him play, he never disappoints.

  • javi

    Im with Davide, Koke is ready now set him free. He can only improve if he plays and we need him in the squad now. At minimum he should be playing 45 minutes each game, but I would start him and if he plays fine, let him play the entire 90. We are wasting his potential on the bench.

  • 92

    k14, you say Koke has no experience?, he did 17 appearances last season, 9 of them as a starter, and he has over 39 caps with the Spanish youth teams, so he definitely he has more experience than you think.

  • FancyFartPants

    so the goal of falcao was not that assist of arda? cause in match report it did not mentioned.

  • dgsozkan

    We finally freed koke! I think lots of fans who follow this blog -including me- have relieved when Koke step up the field. 20 minutes is good time but I’m confident that he would play more by the time.

    About the match , there is nothing much to say we were just great. We’ve needed one more striker who would help Falcao and score some goals and we had him. “Let Adrian to play with Falcao together”It was this simple. I hope Manzano wouldn’t do the same mistake again.

  • ratchet

    I agree with 92, gabi,tiago and mario sort of sybolise the old atletico from recent seasons for me. dont get me wrong- on their day they can show they have quality, like tiagos goal against rosenburg in last seasons europa league, but, while i know gabi only came back this season, all too often them three look like englands midfield and by that i mean (the reason we wont win the WC or the euro) is beacause there is no pace or energy or passion in midfield. Thats why we havemts been consistant over the last few seasons. Koke changes that. I think having him behind diego with turan and adrian on the wings would work well in a 4-1-1-2-1 formatio like this

    courtois
    silvio godin dominguez filipe

    koke

    diego

    arda adrian

    falcao

    one thing that may be aproblem is the lack of numbers in midfield, more specifically a central midfueld role. however i do think koke is going to get more playing time. Maybe some are being a bit harsh saying he doesnt know how to deal with youth players, im pretty sure that by new year koke would have started a few games at least.

  • dgsozkan

    By the way, third goal was a football masterpiece. All these passing,driblings it was such a magnificient goal.

    Also , I wanna add something. I wish there would be a way to keep Courtois in Vicente Calderon but not for one more year as permanent. He is young and talented and he fastly adapted the team. I would love to see him in our jersey for long years.

  • 92

    dgsozkan, hey man what’s up?, I was wondering that since you are Turkish you obviously know who Cenk Tosun is, have you seen him play?, if so, do you think he can become a world-class player?, I ask you about him because I don’t have that much access to the Turkish league, so obviously I haven’t seen him play but I’ve found out he is good prospect and I think Atleti should sign him before someone else does, imagine having Turan and Tosun playing for both Atleti and Turkey, that would be awesome.

  • dgsozkan

    @92 Nothing much dude what’s up with you.

    Yes I’m following him closely. That’s a fact that he is really talented. He came from Germany last year January to Gaziantepspor. At that time a manager called Tolunay Kafkas tried so much to get him to Gaziantep , even though Galatasaray was als0 wanted him they managed to escape him from Galatasaray. I mentioned the name Kafkas, because he is a very good talent hunter and he has found lots of talented players no one knows.

    First year in Turkish Super League , he was just fascinating. He scored 10 goals in 11 games. He scored really excellent goals to challenging opponents. Also in 2011 he is ranked 16th in FIFA’s European Most Promising Young Player’s list.
    However this year didn’t start good for Gaziantepspor.Kafkas has left the club for some personal reasons and Cenk hasn’t been able to get enough minutes.But, he is very young and talented and still Turkish major teams waiting to get him to Istanbul.

    I believe he has potential to be world-class striker, but he needs a good manager to help his development. If he comes to Atleti,I would be very happy because with a good management, we can have an excellent striker. Actually it’s the best time to transfer him , because he would be more dangerous if he completes his development in Atletico’s facilities.

  • 92

    Thanks for the update dgsozkan, now I know that indeed Tosun is a very interesting and talented player, and I have to agree that he is fascinating, his goalscoring rate is unbelievable!, almost one goal per game!, that’s really amazing, on the other hand I think is really a shame that he isn’t getting that many minutes as you said, hopefully he gets more playing time as soon as possible so that he can exploit and fulfill his potential.
    Me as well as you would like to see this player wearing the Atleti jersey, but you said he needs a good manager to fulfill his potential and unfortunately he would’t have that many minutes if he comes to Atleti at the moment, but I still hope that he is signed by Atleti in the near future, perhaps we could buy his rights in the winter transfer and keep him on loan at Gaziantepspor until he fulfills his potential, but darn it seems unlikely that our sporting directors will sign him in the winter, if it was up to me, I wouldn’t hesitate and I would sign him even with my eyes closed.

  • Jr

    Does anybody know what formation Atletico used for this game?

  • Mais

    4-2-3-1

  • dgsozkan

    @92
    Totally agree with you. It would be impossible for him to get enough minutes in our squad now but sign&loan him would be good. Now Gaziantepspor has new coach and I don’t know much about him because he has just started his coaching career.He was a good left back played at major teams in Turkey including Fenerbahce -the team I support in Turkey- and national team but I don’t know if he is a good coach or not. We will see.There are lots of promising players in Turkey but it’s really hard for them to prove themself.It’s because in my country fans are a little bit unpatient and pressure on players is at unacceptable levels.I wish Cenk would reach his maximum and if he wears our jersey someday that would make it more exciting.

  • 92

    dgsozkan, so you are a Fenerbahce fan, that’s cool, remember champions league 07-08?, that was a great season for Fenerbahce and Turkish football in general, I remember that squad had so many great players like Volkan Demirel,Turaci, Kazim-Kazim, Deivid, Semih Senturk, the great captain and legend Alex, and many others, I also remember how they defeated Sevilla in a thrilling game where Volkan was the hero, but unfortunately they were defeated by Chelsea in the next round, but still it was a great season for Fenerbahce, btw I heard about the match-fixing scandal and it’s a shame that a great club like Fenerbahce was not allowed to play Champions since Fenerbahce always does good in UEFA tournaments, I’ve read that some Turkish clubs were jealous of Fenerbance and they sort of did a complot to accuse Fenerbahce of fixing games and they complained againts UEFA to not allow Fenerbahce to play CL, I’m not sure if that’s the actual truth, but as I said it’s really a shame Fenerbahce was expelled from UEFA tournaments because I don’t think a great club like Fenerbahce needs to fix games.

  • dgsozkan

    92,
    Oo how I can forget that season, it was like a dream and Sevilla game almost gave me a heart attack. We were ready to rock the CL again this year we had such a great squad and great coach who has created a team who never accepts losing but then this scandal came out.

    There are lots of things people don’t know about this scandal , lots of things to need to be resolved but I can easily say that it’s more about politicals than the football. We just had great season last year we started awful but then we took 17 win and 1 tie at last 18 games. We add some great players to our squad but then you know the rest. We have lost great players because we ruled out from the CL – Diego Lugano to PSG , Niang to Al-Sadd , Emenike to Spartak Moscow and Dos Santos to Arsenal-.
    However our players show great resistence to all rumors and as fans we are all proud with them. I wish it was just about football but as I said before it is mostly about political tension between our chairman and some powerful authorities.
    Btw,thanks for all great comments man.