After losing to Getafe and Real Madrid, Atlético finally managed to win a Derbi Madrileño. Rayo Vallecano were beaten 3-1 at the Vicente Calderón.
The visitors made for a great game and were unfortunate to score just once, because for all their missed chances they could have made Atleti hurt on Sunday afternoon.
With Diego Godín, Thibaut Courtois and Arda Turan suspended and Sílvio still injured, Gregorio Manzano was forced to make changes to his starting line-up.
The coach handed Sergio Asenjo his first league start of the season and started with Koke in midfield. The middle of the park consisted of three canteranos and Diego slightly ahead, while Reyes paired up with Falcao up front.
Atlético Madrid loanee Dani Pacheco started on the bench for Rayo, who are captained by former Colchonero José María Movilla.
Both teams started with attacking intent and, despite being newly promoted, Rayo showed no fear in bringing the game to Atleti.
After twenty minutes Atlético finally were able to gain some control over the game and created three chances in quick succession. A great cross swung in by Reyes was brought down on the chest by Falcao, but goalkeeper Cobeño did well to save the Colombian’s effort.
Some minutes later Falcao assisted Gabi and the midfielder beat Cobeño and right back Tito with a delicious chip to score the first goal of the match.
The Rojiblancos almost immediately doubled their lead, but Reyes’ shot was saved by Rayo’s ‘keeper.
Rayo picked themselves up and created plenty of opportunities to equalize. Michu shot just inches wide after poor defending by Koke and Mario in midfield and Tamudo’s header went slightly off target.
Lass’ attempt was deflected and whistled past the post. Had Asenjo’s goal been 10 centimeters wider at both sides then the goalkeeper would have conceded three goals in the first half.
At half time Manzano brought on Pizzi for Koke and changed formation in order to get a hold of the game, but Rayo still found themselves in positions to score at the start of the second half.
There was a huge sigh of relief when Radamel Falcao put daylight between the two teams in the 74th minute. He set up Diego who did well to hold off two defenders, before crossing it back to the Colombian. The natural born killer finished off the move with a diving header.
In the final ten minutes Rayo continued to create opportunities, but poor finishing let them down. First Asenjo did well to save a clear cut chance for Michu and later Piti hit the side netting for the Franjirojos.
At the other end Filipe shot straight at Cobeño.
The game seemed to finish 2-0, but in the added time both sides added a goal. Salvio was at the end of a Gabi cross, and the Argentinian substitute volleyed in our third goal.
Rayo Vallecano finally got the goal they deserved when Piti made a fool out of Domínguez before crossing the ball. Gabi, one of Atleti’s better players on the afternoon, got an unfortunate touch to the ball and beat his own goalkeeper.
Atlético got the three points, but the final score is flattering considering that the visitors easily could have outscored us had they been more prolific in their finishing.
Next up for los Colchoneros is a trip to Albacete, where we’ll get our Copa del Rey run underway on Thursday.
Line-up: Asenjo; Perea, Miranda, Domínguez, Filipe; Mario, Gabi, Koke (“46 Pizzi), Diego (“88 Adrián); Reyes (“71 Salvio) and Falcao.
Goals: 1-0 Gabi (“26); 2-0 Falcao (“74); 3-0 Salvio (“91); 3-1 Gabi (o.g.)(“93)