While Atlético’s capacity to defy logic should never be underestimated, the events that took place at the Alfonso Pérez Coliseum late Sunday evening were simply mind-blowing.
Atleti inexplicably blew a 1-0 lead and the advantage of having one more man than opponents Getafe for most of the encounter.
The team lacked cohesion, intensity and guts.
Ever the friendly neighbours, Atlético tossed los Azulones a rope pulling them up and out of the bottom of the relegation zone, and six spots up into safety.
Of course, this act of generosity now leaves us in 11th place and 10 points adrift from – what is starting to sound like a fairy tale – the Champions League zone.
While it’s not quite time to write the 2011/12 campaign off just yet, bearing in mind that we’re still in contention for silverware in other competitions, the feeling that we may be in for another lost season in La Liga is really starting to sink in now.
If we can’t see off a 10-man last place club even after being spotted a one-goal advantage, it seems impossible that we’ll survive our end of the month visit to the Santiago Bernabéu.
A “thrashing advisory” for that looming match, a week after Levante’s visit to the Vicente Calderón, is hereby issued.
Manzano just as puzzled as the rest of us
“It has been a complete disaster,” manager (for now) Gregorio Manzano said in the post-match press conference.
“I don’t have words to explain what happened with the team of three days ago. It’s impossible that the team plays well and with intensity the previous two games and then today they don’t, especially when we were winning and had one more player.
“It’s an inexplicable, resounding and painful loss.”
While we have suffered several disappointing defeats this season, this one was the most painful one for Manzano.
“The match was there for us for the taking and having not won makes this, for me, the match that I leave the most hurt from,” he said.
The 55-year-old then had some scathing words for his men.
“The players have to understand that they are wearing the shirt of a big club, and that they have to give their all on the pitch,” he said.
“This can’t ever happen again at Atlético. In football, if you lack intensity on the field, it’s not worth anything.
“In these coming days, we must reflect.”
- The right back carousel took another spin on Sunday. This time it was the ‘Antonio López experiment’. With Sílvio’s name left off the match selection, it seemed as if Luis Amaranto Perea would be in line for appearance number 293. Manzano instead opted for rolling out ‘El Capi’ López, playing invertedly, to man the defensive right flank. The veteran lefty sent in countless harmless floaters into the hands of Getafe goalkeeper Moyà in a largely ineffective performance. Down 2-1 with 20 minutes left on the clock, López was replaced by Eduardo Salvio.
- Atlético’s official site reports Antonio López will undergo a “joint cleaning” procedure on his right knee on Tuesday. The minor surgery had been scheduled well before Sunday’s match.
- Radamel Falcao’s goal was his seventh in league play, making him the highest scoring Colombian in La Liga history. Falcao surpassed former Atlético striker Adolfo ‘El Tren’ Valencia’s total of six from the 1994/95 campaign (via @pedritonumeros).
- Prior to Sunday, Atleti were the only team to not have scored an away goal.
- Set piece nightmare. None of Getafe’s three goals came from open play. Atleti were doomed by two free kicks and a penalty, all three coming from clumsy fouls by Tiago, Miranda and Arda.
- According to Atlético’s official site, Diego Godín sustained a right thigh injury. The extent of the knock is not known yet.
- Atlético’s 13 points are one less than they had at this point during their infamous 1999/00 relegation season (via @pedritonumeros).
- We have now taken just 1 point from five league matches away from the Vicente Calderón.
- Atleti will fly to Egypt on Wednesday the 9th for a friendly in Cairo which will take place on Thursday the 10th against Zamalek.