La Liga: Atlético 3 – 2 Levante

Atlético stumble to a win in spectacular second half

Adrián scored once tonight (Marca)

Adrián scored once tonight (Marca)

Atlético Madrid struggled against Levante but secured a 3-2 victory in the 13th round of la Liga.

The first half was a dull affair, but five goals in the second half made for a spectacular night in the Vicente Calderón.

Gregorio Manzano opted for Eduardo Salvio to replace the injured Falcao, while Miranda came in for Diego Godín.

The coach was forced to make a late substitution after illness ruled Gabi out for the match. His place in midfield was taken by Tiago.

Atlético put Levante under a lot of pressure and pinned their opponents back on their own half in the opening fifteen minutes of the game, but besides a volley by Tiago this lead to few chances.

The team played very narrow with only the fullbacks providing width, while forwards Adrián and Salvio also dropped wide to receive the ball. This left the Rojiblancos without a presence in the box and Levante held on comfortably.

Our defenders conceded too many unnecessary fouls around the box. One almost led to a goal, but Barkero’s free kick went just off target.

Atlético’s only attempts on goal came from outside the box. Arda and Tiago tried their luck but found goalkeeper Munúa on their way.

In the 40th minute our most energetic player Adrián seemed to win a penalty, but referee Pérez Montero inexplicably ignored Farinos’ rash challenge inside the box.

Adrián won the ball from Ballesteros and beat two players before skipping past Farinos, who lunged in with his legs forward. The ref’s decision not to award the stonewall penalty was incomprehensible and instead of pointing to the spot Pérez Montero made matters even worse by booking Adrián for protesting.

At the start of the second half Thibaut Courtois was called to action on two occasions and the Belgian came through both times. First he saved Xavi Torres’ shot, before diving to the feet of Valdo to stop the winger from scoring.

Pizzi replaced the injured Tiago at half time and the young winger came close to scoring after Munúa spilled an attempt by Diego, but his shot went over the crossbar.

There were more worries for Manzano, as Sílvio had to be stretchered off with a seemingly serious injury. The coach brought on Luis Perea and with the earlier introduction of Pizzi the team changed to a 4-3-3 formation.

Shortly after the substitutions, Atlético missed unbelievable opportunities. Diego put Adrián through on goal but the striker found Munúa on his way. The rebound then fell to Salvio who had an open goal in front of him, but Toto hit the sidenetting.

Moments later the crowd again held their faces in disbelief, when Atleti again managed not to score. Arda Turan pulled the ball back and delivered an unmissable opportunity to Diego, but the Brazilian’s shot was saved off the goalline.

Headers that followed by Domínguez and Salvio went wide.

With the pressure piling on Levante, the Valencian side finally broke down. Atleti launched a quick counterattack and fresh substitute José Antonio Reyes enabled Pizzi to score. The Portuguese winger controlled the ball and scored through the legs of Munúa.

But the happiness was short-lived, because within minutes Levante pulled one back. Atlético were caught completely off-guard and Barkero was allowed to cross from the backline. He found Xavi Torres, who was left unmarked inside the box, and Torres slotted the ball into the back of the net.

But the spectacle in the Calderón wasn’t quite over yet, because Adrián instantly gave Atlético a new lead. He finished off a great move by Arda Turan by heading in the Turk’s cross.

The visitors crawled out of their shell and realised they had nothing to lose. A shot by Barkero was blocked by Miranda and Farinos’ attempt went just wide. Atleti escaped when Rubén’s deflected free kick whistled over the crossbar.

There was a sigh of relief when Diego decided the match shortly before the end. After a quick break a loose ball fell before the feet of the Brazilian and he beat Munúa from close range to make it 3-1.

Atlético almost scored an absolutely fantastic goal in the dying seconds with Diego’s Brazilian flair setting up Filipe for a cross. The left back put the ball on a platter for Adrián, but Munúa pulled off a worldclass save to deny the striker and then caught Reyes’ bicycle kick.

After the added time of two minutes had already passed, Atlético’s defence once more proved to be vulnerable and Rubén was allowed to score.

Although far from a convincing performance, the victory over Levante might just be the moral boost Atlético needs ahead of next week’s clash with arch rivals Real Madrid.

Line-up: Courtois; Sílvio (“58 Perea), Miranda, Domínguez, Filipe; Mario, Tiago (“46 Pizzi), Arda, Diego; Salvio (“65 Reyes) and Adrián.

Goals: 1-0 Pizzi (“68); 1-1 Xavi Torres (“72); 2-1 Adrián (“74); 3-1 Diego (“84); 3-2 Rubén (“93)

  • Ringo

    So… Manzano will probably stick around even after a Madrileno-loss

  • Urban

    it will not be a loss, it will be a massacre

  • DJ_ZA

    First half was not the best display by Atletico… so boring I was tempted to switch channels {only didn’t cos I couldn’t decide between Roma or PSG…off topic – anyone see super Osvaldo goal disallowed by dumbass ref. he’s having fab season with roma – have to eat my words cos I slated him when there rumours of Atleti signing him}

    Back to Atleti….Was it just a co-incidence that things started to fall into place when Reyes came on? Toto must be so disappointed. Not a great performance. But we squeaked the 3 – that’s good enough for me.

    Guess Manzano’s saving Koke & Pulido for next week…..

  • palc

    Reyes needs to play. Man of the match this evening. The only one who seems to know what he is doing. The rest of our offensive players wander around the pitch like headless chickens. Adrian, Arda and Salvio needs to stick to their respective positions. Adrian falls to deep. Salvio wanders around and switches flanks too often. Arda falling way to deep as well. Stick to the fuc*ing formation dumbasses. No wonder we cannot create anything.

    We won but another dissappointing match. Not Manzanos fault.

  • Palestine-atleti

    Diego ribas was great, i enjoyed his touches i believe between all the new comers Diego js the most progressing and assending performance.. On the other hand Mario is getting from bad to worst and perea is simply NO COMMENT!!!!!!!!

  • DJ_ZA

    our first post from the other side. (or did John Edwards post this for you?) So how’d you do it palc? pills, gun to the head, or jump off a bridge? Does Tiago know he’s responsible for your death? and will you be haunting him for the rest of his life?

    But seriously … I wouldn’t go as far as man of the match.

  • DJ_ZA

    Palestine-atleti, Diego is fortunate to have scored, otherwise we would be talking about his other missed opportunities, where sometimes he looked a bit indecisive and in front of goal, his ‘touches’ were not that great. (but he is one of our best at the moment)

    Wrt, Perea, I’ll add the comment “You’ve got your record, now please leave!”

  • Mais

    i dont think perea is as bad as tiago..he almost gave me a coronary today..loved him 8 yrs ago, but dont think he has anything to contribute anymore..not to atleti anyway

  • 92

    What a an amazing performance from Reyes!, he was the catalyst today, he assisted Pizzi and also, he built the play that ended in the second goal scored by Adrian with an Arda assist, La Perla was just brilliant, there’s no doubt that he is a world class player when he takes the correct stance, and to think that I said that Reyes needed to go, now I think he needs to stay and become an Atleti legend because he truly delights the Colchonero faithful, high five for Reyes.
    I also think that overall the whole team did a great job, the defense conceded 2 goals but still they did good, the midfield with Mario and Tiago was pretty decent too, Diego and Turan great as usual, Adrian Pizzi were great too, Salvio was good too even though he missed a clear chance, I think that he is becoming anxious every day, he is a good player, but I don’t think he felts comfortable, I think he is not very confident, he acts like he is still shy, at Benfica he was a very confident player, maybe because he was a regular starter & here he is not, hopefully he becomes confident because he is a great player, captain Perea deserves another mention too, he is now an Atleti legend and keeps breaking the record with the most caps for a foreigner player for Atleti.

  • 92

    And no Koke, now you guys should reconsider that Koke is not part of Manzano’s plans and if he keeps being overshadowed he definately is gonna need to be loaned to get plenty of minutes because Manzano is not gonna give him plenty enough.

  • ural

    why u guys scared to talk about Arda he was helping to deffence and attacking and every where i think he was man of the match.

  • Ringo Schut

    I don’t think it was a terrific game for Reyes, if he didn’t give that pass to Pizzi, every Atleti would want to hang him. I don’t know about his contribution for the other goal, so I can’t say how important he was in that attack.
    I’ll stick with what I said in the pre-game-thread: he should be used as (sort of) pinchhitter. He isn’t the type of player to start in a 4-3-3-ish formation going for possession, since he’s too direct. As you could see today, 9 or all out 10 passes he gives are through balls, no matter how useful.
    When you need extra striking force when having scoring problems: use Reyes, but don’t start with him, you’ll lose your “play”. I don’t see him staying as a late substitute, though. So I still vote for Reyes leaving.

  • palc

    @ DJ_ZA

    What do you mean by John Edwards? Don’t follow american politics at all.

    Actually Tiago was pretty decent today. Working well defensively. Should have given us the lead though when the ball bounced perfectly in front of him only for him to blast it to row z.

    Reyes was the catalyst for todays victory. Without him we would’ve lost 0-1 im sure. Hes a jerk, but he’s clearly our best player.

  • palc

    @ Ringo

    We should be more direct. Were passing that ball way too much. And im sure Manzano instructed him to try through balls as we were not able to break through the Levante defence. Diego struggled with this task so in came Reyes.

  • DJ_ZA

    @ palc
    John Edward is the (tv) guy who communicates with dead people.

  • 92

    Ringo,you say that if Reyes would’ve not assisted Pizzi then Reyes should’ve be hanged by every Atletico?, (I know I wouldn’t), and what about Salvio’s miss?, Should he be hanged and shipped away from Atleti?, of course not!, and Reyes DID assisted Pizzi, and if he would’nt… well, that’s a completely different story, and believe me, he contributed for Atleti’s second goal. Look, I know the guy can be a jerk sometimes, and cause problems in the dressing room and all that, but he is world class, he’s a genuis, his left foot his pure magic, and he has worked very hard to get the affection of the Colchonero faithful and to get where he is now, and I prefer to have him with us than at Sevilla or Galatasaray or anywhere else, also, right now he is better player than Salvio, Salvio is a great player but has a lack of confidence, and Reyes doesn’t, he is a very confident player, I know that depending on his mood, he can perform either good, bad and ugly, but it’s always nice to have a player like Reyes for better or worse, and I think he should stay at least until the end of this season.
    And that thing that Reyes can’t play on a 4-3-3 formation perhaps you’re right, but not along ago the Spanish and Catalan press said that Fabregas and Xavi can’t play together at the same time…, sure they can, and also, long time ago when Iniesta was beginning his career, the press said that him and Xavi were not compatible and therefore they couldn’t play at the same time, look at them now, now, Reyes not being able to play in a 4-3-3 system is a different thing, but he could be adapted to fit into it, and you’re forgetting the 4-3-3 Manzano tried at the beginning of the season didn’t work at all. So… I think Reyes is cool until the end of the season, and if Sevilla or anybody else wants him, well, then they should paid the 20 M for his buyout clause.

  • 92

    Once again, NO KOKE, and if Tiago was injured (who is sort of the player that Koke always substitutes) and Manzano instead of sending Koke in his place subs Pizzi instead, then clearly Manzano doesn’t think of Koke as a game changer and is not gonna give him enough minutes in my opinion, I know most likely Manzano decided to chose Pizzi in Tiago’s place because he was on the loose rope and he needed to win the match no matter what, but today’s match Koke, saw no action, probably he is gonna feature against Rennes, but I doubt it and I still think Manzano is not gonna give many minutes to Koke because giving youngster plenty of chances is not his thing, so I still think Koke needs to be loaned away if it’s true that he had many offers from Primera team in the summer, or also, if it’s true that Manchester United, Arsenal or any team was interested in acquiring him, then I say is better for Koke to move to a team like Man U or Arsenal where they really value young players, and where Koke could really exploit all his talent and become a world class player, because he has enough qualities to do so.

  • Ringo Schut

    Well, the hanging was more like an expression (probably too extreme, I’m sorry), it’s just that I didn’t see any reason someone could not see Pizzi with so much space, even though the Levante defense seemed to have missed it.
    The Xavi-iniesta-cesc thing, wasn’t that more about them being too alike or something? Because the way I see it, that’s a totally different problem, although I see how you could use it as an argument.
    About the directness and the “too much passing”, I don’t think that the team has those problems, it’s the positioning what makes it fail, 4-3-3 and the formation used right now, depend most on the positioning. Salvio switching flanks should be a good thing, Manzano, or a replacement, should just fix the whole positioning- and the not-using-Koke-problem.

    And last about Reyes: he’s just a short term solution, that’s why he should be used as pinchhitter, like today, when the overall teamplay should be thrown overboard and attack should be the only way. He has a great pass and skillset, but not the intelligence and kind of vision this Atletico needs on the long term. It is time to look at the big picture.

  • Ringo Schut

    I totally agree with you about Koke, well not about the subs today, he should have started today, I understand if you put on forwards in games like this, instead of a CM.

  • k14

    Reyes was somehow involved in all 5 goals, but the addition of pizzi and reyes gave the team more “mojo” ;p
    As for Salvio, I still wish we kept Elias instead.
    Perea is a faithful living legend for the club, not a stray old dog for u to put to sleep, more respect please.

  • Mais

    im with ringo…not even close to reyes’ all-time best performance, id still sell him..i dono if i watched the same match

    not sure that koke would have been a good choice for can write essays in response to that i suppose but i dont think todays match would have used him to his potential, though perhaps he could have performed better than tiago, we’ll never know

    great efforts by diego and arda, even if there were slip ups

  • 92

    You know what Ringo?, I think you’re right about the 4-3-3 system and Reyes in general, about the 4-3-3 it’s true that the teams lack a sense of good positioning, but I don’t think we have the right players to apply and use the 4-3-3 sytem succesfully, our defensive midfielders can’t even do the holding task, and for the 4-3-3 system you need to have DM’s who are good at defending (tackling, recovering the ball, destroying opposing teams advances and attacks) and attacking, and Mario and Assuncao with all due respect can’t even defend, therefore they’re even worse when they go offensively, we need a DM who is a good tackler and passer to make the 4-3-3 system work among a true RW to work at the pair of Arda, Adrian can do that job but I just think we need a proper RW, also Manzano is not using the 4-3-3 formation right now, so I think we should just desist to use the 4-3-3 formation until a good DM is acquired and a proper coach that knows how use the 4-3-3, and about Reyes, it’s true that he is just a short term solution but he is one of more talented players when he is in the mood so I don’t think we should not just yet get rid of him, let’s just wait until the end of the season and see how things go with Reyes.

  • 92

    k14 is right, RESPECT FOR PEREA!.

  • 92

    Mais, No, I’m not an essay writer, I’m just sayin’ that I don’t see Koke getting plenty of minutes while Manzano is in charge of the squad, I’m not talking about this match,I’m talking overall. Btw, I never said Koke should’ve start or should’ve been used as a substitute, I just said that if Tiago was injured and instead of Manzano replacing him with Koke -who is the designated substitute for Tiago- he chose Pizzi, and therefore he still has little or no confidence at all in Koke, don’t put words in my mouth that I didn’t said.

  • Mais

    i never addressed my comments to you 92, they were general, so please dont put words in my mouth

  • Mais

    i just read the thread again and i see the mix-up…i said what i said because i know how passionate a lot of us are about koke, including myself .. as in we could all debate all night about his exclusion

    honestly wasnt directed at you

  • 92

    All right, my bad, I apologize, it’s just I thought you were adressing me because of my long posts, I apologize again.

  • Mais

    no its all good

    i was responding to ringos comment, agreeing with him on the issue of reyes, but differing from him saying koke should have started

    i’ve written a long post once or twice, we’re all entitled to an opinion

  • Javi

    We got the three points-that’s good but we are still a third rate team in the league and next week it’s going to be a good ol’ fashion whooping, I’m predicting at least 5-0, and probably more.

  • atletisrael

    Let’s hope for one goal for our side 🙂

    I’m really not agreeing with most of u about Diego, he has tons of talent in his feet but no real Brazilian passion. For example his miss a couple of meters from goal wasn’t followed with any face expression but a fast run to the corner flag, and that was in 0-0 score. We need a sassy and rude diego to stir the team and bring activness on the field.

    When Gabi went ill Koke should’ve been called! No argument, Tiago wasn’t that bad but he wasn’t good as well.

    Yesterday I think the team communicated in Portuguese 🙂 look at that Portu-Brazilian lineup

  • Ian

    just saw the goals highlight, and i think our goals were good, and Reyes showed some kind of unselfishness with the assist to Pizzi, but i don’t know how he did at other times.

    But how we concede the goals shows how our defence are very bad, especially Miranda on both occasions, he seemed lost..

    I’d rather we play a boring defensive game against Real to savor a point rather than an attacking mentality but we lose..

  • Tras someterse a una resonancia, se confirma que Silvio sufre un esguince del ligamento lateral interno grado II en su rodilla izquierda.

  • Rojiblanco93

    Come on Javi u are an Atlético Madrid Fan , you should know Best that our team can win against everybody!!! and also loose… So dont be so pessimistic WE CAN DO IT !!!! WE WILL DO IT

  • GS Fan 1905

    It may have been ugly but a win is a win. Three points always bring morale. I believe that is a good thing going into next game.

    I still don’t believe that 4-3-3 is a good choice of formation for Atleti. Two forwards are better than one, especially if one can hold up play and the other one runs channels and etc. You guys get my drift.

  • davie

    think it was decent enough performance diego pizzi arda and reyes prob best players for us just read that godin would be up for a move to chelsea in january so pullido could get more minutes if that happens i was disapointed koke didnt get on but think tiago gabi and mario would all need to be injured for koke to get decent minutes on pitch at this moment in time

  • FancyFartPants

    so who was man of the match guys?

  • Lubo

    Rojiblanco 93, you can’t be serious. With the form Real is playing right now and compared to our form and injuries, also considering our obviously very poor matches against that white trash in last 5 years, the only thing we can do is extend those 12 years without victory against them. I’m also expecting 5 and more and Atlético scoring a goal would be a success and surprise for me.

  • oguz

    Arda was in all part of the pitch and worked a lot. I think he was man of the match. But what u think about that guys, in my opinion he should play closer to forward flanks. Manzano should use his energy for creating positions other than tackling in the middle. If he plays in forward, he has a potetial to be assist leader in la liga.

  • 92

    I agree with Davie about Godin, he has fell out of favor recently and if Chelsea is still offering £15million, I say Atleti should go for it, it’s a very good offer, with that money we should sign DM and a replacement for Falcao-because it’s is impossible for him and Adrian to play the Spanish League, Europa League and Copa del Rey altogether, I think it’s too many matches for the 2 of them, also Falcao is gonna be playing World Cup qualifiers and he is not Superman, he is gonna need some rest in the season-
    also not neccesarily in case Godin it’s sell to Chelsea that’s gonna mean playing time for Pulido, he has played a single match this season so I don’t that even if Godin moves away Pulido is gonna get minutes, don’t get me wrong, I would like to see Pulido pair Alvaro at the center of the defense but I don’t think Pulido is ready yet, I think it’s best for Pulido to be loaned away, preferrably to a Segunda Division team, and if Valladolid wanted him for their “project”, I think he should move there and who knows?, perhaps he could achieve promotion with Valladolid.

  • ural

    oguz kardes bunlar irkcilik yapiyo agizlarina bile almak istemiyolar ardayi bosver:)

  • javi

    @Rojiblanco93 my heart and expectaions have been demolished for many many years of thinking the way you do. I have hosted parties at my house with my RM friends, providing them food and drink expecting that their tastebuds will sour after we beat them… Instead they enjoyed it even more. I think it is a lot healthier, at least for me, if instead of hoping that this is the year, I go in with a realistic view of things, and thus when they score, as they usually do, their first gol in the first five minutes, it wont hurt as bad. Of course I want Atleti to win, but the disappointments have been so big and for so many years, and as Lubo said, the way RM is playing this year and the way we are playing this year it is probably the least likely result that we will win, or even score a gol. So I am already at peace with what is coming. If something goes the other way, I will he happy, but I am not expecting it.

  • rojiblanco93

    I´m more than serious !!!
    Sorry Guys, but I dont hope that our players think the way u two do !
    In my opinon we can beat them ,
    Atletico always had games were they surprised everyone, this makes our team !

  • Veiko

    Its a result but not a good game.
    What will happen in derby…..

  • Ratchet

    @ Rojiblanco93

    I remember people saying the exact same thing before barca, so i wont get my hopes up for a good result, expect awful, and anyhting better is a bonus.

  • javi

    @ Rojiblanco93
    If I was an atleti player I would think differently than I as a fan would or I would not step on the field. All players must beliee in winning every game, thats what they get paid to do and doing otherwise leads to failure.
    I am a long life fan of Atleti and I know the reality of things. If we beat RM this week it will indeed be a miracle and I will play the lottery that day.

  • Rojiblanco93

    We as the Fans of these Club , should always support atleti , I’m sure most of us heard phrases like why atleti? or haha atleti lost again !! But we have to stick together and always be optimistic , it doesn’t matter if we play against Barcelona or Real we have to sit at the stadium or in front of the tv and have to Cher up our team, even if we 10:0 behind! And I can’t stand up people who always make us worse than we are. Because we are strong!! I don’t expect a 5:0 lost I expect us to win , and it’s quite sad to be just one of a few on this website! Call me an unrealistic idiot or just call me an Atletico Madrid Fan.

  • wow.. Rojiblanco93.
    I feel the same.

  • Croatia Atletista

    Rojiblanco93 you took the words from my mouth.
    I’m from Split Croatia so basically nobody understands why I even cheer for Atletico in the first place and to be frank I don’t know I just felt a certain passion for the club since I was a 10 year old boy and now 8 years later I still feel the passion. They say if your born in Split your first love is Hajduk from Split and that is true but my second and dare I say not smaller love is Atletico and trust me that is a GREAT statement coming from a Hajduk Split fan.


  • DJ_ZA

    This blog is always entertaining (on so many levels). Love the Freudian slip Rojiblanco93!!! …. ‘Cher up our team’…. that had me in stitches…. so many crazy images come to mind. (whahahaha).
    Love your unfailing enthusiasm and support though 🙂

    Davie & 92, I hope Godin doesn’t go! In fact i’m hoping for a rather quiet transfer period.[yes…. even Reyes can stay if he wants]. We had so many changes at the start of the season, that the team are still trying to gel. I’d prefer everything just to settle down for now.

    Javi, are we all gonna get a cut of your lottery winnings?


  • FancyFartPants

    Selamunaleykum ural ve oguz kardes, irkcilik yapma olabilir yapan vardir kesin, ama burdakinler dunyanin hertarafindan taraftar var… zaten sadece ispanyol olsaydilar ardayi sevip sayarlardi.. de arada bir kac var sevip sayan burda. cogu bize karsi bir cekememezligi vardir kesin. zaten turkun dusmani coktur, biz tek yurek ve birlik olduktan sonra hic birsey yapamazlar. HZ. Allahin izniyle!

  • osmanson

    Sacma sacma konusmayin, ezik mantaliteli olmayin. Adam kendini kabul ettirdi hem burada, hem genelde. Internet forumlarinda sizin onu korumaniza da ihtiyaci yok, efendiliginizi koruyun.

    Ne diye irkci olacaklar ayrica, adam arap degil zenci degil, o bir Turk. Almanya ya da Belcika olsa vardir onlarin icinde inceden inceye ama Ispanya’da olmaz oyle seyler.

    Ancak bize bizden baska dost yok, o ayri.

    P.s. Although I am not very hopeful about it, I have a feeling Atleti might steal a victory over there. I don’t know, call it a hunch.

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  • ural

    osmanson gibiler birlik beraberlikden anlamayan tiplerdir,biz savunmiycazda kim savuncak ve fancyfartpants arkadasin dedigi gibi turkun turkden baska dostu yoktur ben de bu anlamda yorum yapmistim.Bizim sorunumuz genelde birbirimizi cekememek ve begenmemek gibi huylarimiz oldugu icin ondan boyle yanlislarimiz oluyo.insallah osmanson gibilerde 1 gun bunun farkina varip ozellikle yurtdisi ortamlarda milliyetci olmayi ogrenir.irkcilik yorumunu anlamadim,bana nasihat verecek seviyede degilsin…

  • Ringo

    Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the Turkish language or something, but since this is an English website, could you try to use that language? Makes it easier for everyone to understand what’s going on.