Copa del Rey: Albacete 2 – 1 Atlético

Shocking performance by Atleti in first leg of the Copa del Rey

López comforting Adriáneven before his penalty miss (Marca)

López comforting Adrián
even before his penalty miss (Marca)

Atlético Madrid started this season’s Copa del Rey with a horrific performance, which led to a 2-1 defeat against lowly Albacete.

Atleti will get a chance to set things straight at the Vicente Calderón on the 21st of December.

Gregorio Manzano used this match to give his reserves and our youngsters some much-needed playing time.

Atlético started with only three players over 23 years old and a defence formed entirely by cantera players. Jorge Pulido and Antonio López joined in on either side of Álvaro Domínguez in defence, while 17-year-old Javi Manquillo was handed his official debut for los Rojiblancos at right back.

In the opening minutes the team looked unorganised and seemed to suffer from the rotations, as we failed to hold on to possesion or string more than two passes together.

Albacete are active in the Segunda División B this year and tied 1-1 with our B-team recently, so prior to the game a walk-over by our senior team was expected. But the home side put up a great fight and put Atleti under a lot of pressure in the first quarter of the game.

After half an hour of play Albacete deservedly took the lead, albeit in a fortunate way. Referee Teixiera Vitienes pointed to the spot after an unintentional handball by Álvaro Domínguez.

Antonio Calle, who also scored before being dismissed in league play against Atlético B, stepped up and converted the penalty.

Atleti hardly caused Álvaro Campos any problems in the first half, but the goalkeeper was forced to a brilliant save from a header by Antonio López.

The Colchoneros were uninspiring and, to be frank, truly awful in the first 45 minutes, but they caught a lucky break shortly after half time when Juanfran was brought down from behind inside the area.

Núñez received a red card for his offence and Atleti were awarded a penalty but, much like our performance on the night, Adrián’s strike was woeful and missed the target.

Atlético only enjoyed their numerical advantage for a handful of minutes, because in the 61st minute Álvaro Domínguez was sent off after bringing down Calle from behind.

Unlike Atleti, Albacete were awarded a free kick and not a penalty. But unlike Adrián, Zurdo did manage to make the most of the dead ball. The left back curled the free kick over the wall beautifully into the top corner.

Shortly after Manzano brought on B-team top scorer Pedro Martín, the team got one back. Adrián made up for his earlier miss and toe-poked the ball past Campos after a mix-up in the Albacete defence to score his 11th goal of the season.

Álvaro Campos almost gifted Atleti a goal, but wasn’t punished for his slip up. The goalkeeper was unchallenged to collect a cross, but failed to hang on to the ball which came back off the post and back into Campos’ hands.

And so Atlético’s struggle in away games continues. We are the worst travelling team in Spain and not even a game against a 3rd Division side brought us our first domestic away win of the season.

Pointing at the younger players would be the easy thing to do, while in fact Gregorio Manzano and the more experienced players are to blame for the horrible performance at the Carlos Belmonte stadium.

In two weeks Albacete travel to Madrid to defend their lead.

Line-up: Asenjo; Manquillo (“68 Miranda), Pulido, Domínguez, López; Assunção, Koke; Salvio, Pizzi (“68 Pedro) Juanfran; and Adrián.

Goals: 1-0 Calle p.k. (“31); 2-0 Zurdo (“62); 2-1 Adrián (“70)

  • Javi Lozoya

    We need to go shopping in the transfer window for sure, a right CB, and RB, and a proper DM, because ALL of DM’s are freakin’ awful, and most importantly, Manzano needs to being sacked, because I think I’ve seen enough, we win againts lower table teams and lose against mid table teams, and the worst thing is that we’re probably the worst visitors in Spain.

  • Mais

    im stunned…i didnt watch the match but i consoled myself cuz i was certain id come home to good news

    maybe our canteranos arent good enough if this is the result, i dont think i can even blame manzano for this one

    and nothing from salvio?

  • Mais

    derek, by more experienced players, do you mean lopez and assuncao? even juanfran? would they have made any difference at all in any other match

  • Javi Lozoya

    Miguel Angel Menendez from RadioMarca twitted that a player from Villarreal is gonna be put on “sale” during the transfer window in January, and that Atleti hasn’t gave up yet in acquiring Borja Valero in January since the signing of Shaqiri is gonna get complicated because Basel are still competing in Champions League, it’s only a rumour of course, but it makes some sense, Villarreal needs money, they always do because they’re a humble team, also, they have a lot of midfielders, so the “possible” departure of Borja Valero wouldn’t be so surprising, I think, and about Shaqiri, he is the key player for Basel, so I suppose they are gonna keep hold of him until their Champions League campaign is over and possibly sell him in the summer after his price is revalued to make more profit from him, but if we (Atleti) have already a “pre agreement” with Shaqiri, I say let him finish the season with Basel so that he comes in the summer, that way we’re gonna have a planned season, with a new coach and new players I hope, and Shaqiri is gonna adapt better to Spain and Atleti.

  • Javi

    Hopefully we loose against Espanol and Manzano is out.

  • 20corona

    Juanfran Was very good the second half, he deserves a chance against Espanyol imo.

  • Javi Lozoya

    I think the maximum responsible of this loss is Manzano, although the players have shared responsibility for this loss, also I don’t the canteranos are to be blamed as some of them like Pulido and Manquillo had never played a single minute this season, and in Manquillo’s case, he is a Juvenil A player, he has not even feature for the C or B teams, he is very promising, but Manzano did wrong him lining him as a starter, he should’ve called Perea and afterwards debut Manquillo, or, hypothetically, he should’ve lined, Perea, Miranda, Dominguez, A. Lopez, that way the team would’ve been more solid, and then, he should’ve integrated Manquillo slowly, and then, grant him 10 or 20 minutes, but he (Manzano) blew it, he doesn’t know how to work with youngsters, and he should be sacked immediately.

  • Ringo

    Yeah, I’m getting pretty sure it’s best to get rid of Manzano, I hope he won’t cost too much (I guess there’s a clause in his contract).

    Well, Manzano is to blame for this loss.
    A lot of players with almost no rhytm, not much playing time together, so how would you expect a ‘team’ to be on the pitch.

    Pulido and Manquillo, again, with no rhytm in the team, would be magicians if they had a great game today.

    If some of the players got some well deserved minutes in other games, the play would have been a lot better.

    Koke should have played as defending midfielder/deep-lying playmaker, close to the defenders, always free to pass to, etc, with a powerhouse-ish player (Mario seems closest to this picture, I guess) next to him and an attacking midfielder who can play as CM closeby (Sergio Marcos, Diego perhaps) and you have yourselves a logical midfield.

    A good coach would at least try towards an idea, something I haven’t seen Manzano do.

    Nice first half against Real and pretty good defending some months ago, but it’s time to go bye-bye.

  • Mais

    Javi Lozoya, i see your point, but im still left without a real target to blame i seems from everyones comments that manzano can do no right, unless there is a very specific formula that he must adhere to the letter (referring to your comment about Manquillo for example)

    dont get me wrong im not a fan of manzano, but im worried that if we lose no matter what he does, we will with the next coach as well..ive mentioned before ive only known atletico under QSF, but ive been reading up and listening to podcasts, and apparently this is what plagues atleti no matter who the coach is? sacking a coach mid-season is so demoralizing from my perspective

  • javi

    what was the point of bringing reyes on this trip?

  • Mais

    Ringo, arent copa games the place to try the canteranos? minus the early games against sporting and racing, the other matches were not the place to risk it so early in the season dont you think?

  • Javi Lozoya

    This loss confirms that Manzano is a bad tactician, at least with big teams, and he has no clue on how to work with young players, I don’t even know why the hell was he even hired, the management (Gil, Cerezo) could’ve hired any other coach, Luis Enrique, Caparros, etc.. , you name it, but how why Manzano?, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s always the same thing each year with these guys (Gil and Cerezo), but still they should’ve pick a better manager, with Manzano we’re just sinking lower each time, Manzano has some fault, but the real people to blame are Gil and Cerezo as their almost every year bad decisions always affect the club for better or worse, I’m so tired of saying this, but Gil and Cerezo need to get the fuck out of Atleti. Freakin’ greedy mercenaries.

  • Mais

    that is a statement i can definitely agree with

  • 7th

    I dont know why, but i think I read luis enrique’ mind when i looked at him in Roma’ training season yesterday,

    his looks seems he regrets coming to roma, not atletico madrid.

    great debut from manquilo and pulido and pedro as well.

  • Davide


    Our youngsters are good enough. You don’t play all youngsters at the same time, Manzano is a id**t.. you play them one or two at a time with seniors to get balance in the team and support to the younger ones. They need more senior players on the field. Manquilo and Pulido should not have been playing next to each other with Dominguez, they had no guidance.

  • k14

    So much praise for Luis Enrique, yet hes doing worse than Manzano.
    Even with the fact that Roma only lost 2 players during the summer, and most of the starting 11 are still the same, as for Atleti its a total of 4 (Filipe, Alvaro, Godin and Mario) that played together before this season.

    As for this game today, I feel like playing those youngsters was something we can afford, since we can salvage the situation at the home game.
    Sadly, only juanfran was worthy of some praise tonight, and I wouldn’t blame manzano too much for the loss, as both goals were conceded by individual mistakes.

  • k14

    Would like to also add that everyone related to atlei should have some patience, even Man City heavily funded huge project took around 3 years before bearing the fruit of it, and now they are leading the EPL.

    So be fair to this squad (including Manzano :p), and have some patience.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Miranda is worthy of some praise too, as soon as he entered the pitch today the defense improved, so I expect to see him on Sunday.

  • Abi

    Sack sack sack

  • Javi Lozoya

    Eduardo Vargas scores againts LDU Quito, keep and eye on Vargas, he is gonna be the next Chilean world class player, I’m not Chilean but Forza U. De Chile.

  • b

    yes eduardo vargas!!! i watched him!! a new alexis sanchez!!! he will be a good replacement for reyes!!! or shaqiri from fc basel!!! both are good

  • davidsf

    Idk if it a placebo effect but atleti always get a result like this. I don’t know why I’m such a huge fan and how I can live being the husband of such a schizophrenic wife.

    Its like they fuck up terribly and then next day they make u forget all the bad.

    I’m still waiting on that day

  • dgsozkan

    There are lots of things to say.However I sick and tired of comments about losing because of Manzano. Albacete match was a huge shame for us. There is no place for Manzano in our team. He should leave immidialately. I’ve seen enough. He has to resign right now but I don’t expect him to do that. Somebody please fire him. Don’t let him cause more damage!!!

  • Gert Jacobs

    I understand Copa games are matches to try out cantera. But come on, only Adrian, Salvio, Dominguez and perhaps Assuncao had match rhythm.
    Seriously, did you like Juanfran? I didn’t.
    At least Reyes should have brought in for him in the second half…
    It was dissapointing. We’re lucky to have 2-legged Copa matches.

  • Urban

    I do not agree with most of you. Objectively speaking 1-2 away is not a bad result, and in terms or prestige losing to segunda B team is always bad but please have in mind many youngesters got their chance – which is way more important than the result in this game.

    We will have a problem if we do not qualify though.

  • SoLobo

    Every time we know better… Better than the board, the coach or the players. Our coach is always the one to blame… Just take a look at your suggestions for the starting 11 before the match. You put Pulido, Manquillo and Pedro together. Manzano does that and for some reason he is not doing things right! And Reyes? Why Reyes? What makes you think that Reyes WANTS to play for us? He would do nothing. And also suddenly you all want Reyes back and you are yelling at the board that wants to sell him. 10 days before you were all yelling at Reyes and wanted him out. Stop whining and let ‘s have some patience. k14 is right about Manchester City…

  • Ringo

    Yes, Mais, the copa is, but that’s for B-players and Manquillo for instance.
    Pulido and Koke are officially with the first team. At least Koke deserved to have much more minutes during the season. You can’t expect performances if most players have to remember how to play a match first.
    Had Koke been used more frequently (Tiago is no better, but he still is Manzano’s favourite, somehow, to start important matches)
    I want Atleti to go through, but Manzano will have to start using his brains before the canteranos can actually accomplish something in matches.
    How much experience does he have as a coach again? Use it!

  • Ringo

    With the first line, I meant that Atleti B players play matches every week and so does Manquillo, Koke and Pulido do not, since they’re with the first team but Manzano doesn’t use them.

  • Ringo

    Yeah I know what k14 means and SoLoBo, I understand you. But even though I wanted them all to play, the biggest reason they lost is probably the lack of rhytm. If they’re used again before the next Copa game, they’ll probably perform much better.
    It’s just that it feels like Manzano doesn’t think about what he’s doing. There are probably enough teams he would be fitting in well, but in my opinion, he has proven that the combination Atleti-Manzano does not seem to be a succesful one. Especially if you want an Atletico that thinks about the future.
    Unless Manzano shows there’s at least some prospect very soon, I’d rather see him depart from the club.

  • Ringo

    Oh, Javi Lozoya, you’d probably like to know: Goossens is probably going to Swansea City this January.

  • Javi

    I have no problem with his starting líne up, it was the opportunity to do it fir the canteranos
    But i have a problem with his failure to motivate the players and his failure to make proper changes, although putting in Miranda was sise. But Reyes should have played the second half

  • Javi Lozoya

    Why are some of you guys comparing and/or relating Man. City to Atleti?, that’s totally irrelevant.
    Man. City are owned by a prestigious and rich gentleman, Sheikh Mansour, we are owned by a greedy man (Gil) and managed by Cerezo who knows little or nothing about football, and know nothing about the football businnes, he doesn’t know how to negotiate.
    It’s no use to bring that because it makes no sense, Man. City can spend money as they please, we can’t, and Manzano needs to go, I don’t even know why some of you insist on retaining him, he just simply doesn’t got what it takes to manage Atletico, and most of us fans are tired of him, and so, he needs to go away immediately.

  • Javi Lozoya

    So Goossens may join Swansea in Janauary, that’s awesome, that way I’ll get to see him more often, he is gonna join his fellow countrymen, Michel Worm (who’s an outstanding keeper, I think only Stekelemburg surpass him, so he is the second best dutch GK in the world) and Ferrie Bodd, who has been doing a quite good career in the UK, he help Swansea to get promoted, which is something really outstanding considering Swanseais the first ever team from Wales to ever play in the EPL, something really amazing, currently Swansea is doing a great job, they are trying to play good attractive attacking football and they’re not in the relegation spots which wassomething ou could’ve expected at the starting of the EPL season, hopefully in case Goossens arrives, they become a much stronger team, and hopefully they can remain in the EPL for next season -2012-2013-, and not get relegated on this one -2011-2012-.

  • Javi Lozoya

    b, indeed Vargas is a great player, I’ve been watching him too, and he is really gonna become a world class player, probably as you say the new Alexis Sanchez except Vargas plays on the right wing, I wish we could sign him, he is not that expensive but the problem is that he doesn’t have an EU passport so hypotetically, in case if we sign him, we would need to sell or loan a player that is non EU, (Salvio, Miranda), and I don’t think that’s gonna happen, I wish we sign Vargas but I don’t see him happening, and that’s a shame because he really is a great player.

  • k14

    @ Javi Lozoya
    Comparing Man City to atleti because their project was similar to ours, they revamped their whole squad just like what is happening to atleti currently.
    And even with that strong financing it took them years before the results they needed.
    So if in the next 5 games we mange to leapfrog Sevilla(5 points ahead of us) to the 5th spot, I would say that’s a really good result in this unfavorable situation.
    Pun not intended with that many 5s 🙂

  • SoLobo

    All I say is that we always get tired of our coach extremely quick and easy. I can’t say I am happy with Manzano, but for sure he knows the team better than all of us together. All I suggest is try and support the team and have more patience.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Well, you make a good point in the sense that their whole squad was revamped, I give you that, but c’mon, their management lead by Sheikh Mansour is much more serious and responsible than the one leaded by Gil of Atleti, Gil is an incompetent whose decisions are almost always affecting Atleti for worse, so City’s and Atleti’s management are way different.

    Also, City bought world class players in almost every position, look at Hart and Pantilimon, they’re both solid GKS, also City’s defense is way more solid than ours, our midfield is a joke compared to City’s, Yaya Toure is a driving force in City’s midfield along with De Jong, David Silva is probably the best attacking/creative midfielder in the Universe, and their forwards, Kun Aguero, Dzeko and Balotelli are also worls class players, no offense but it is an actual joke to compare City’s players with ours, I love Atleti but City is just way better than us in all aspects, sportively and administratively.

  • k14

    I never compared quality, but everything u are saying support my argument, even with the higher quality City squad, it still took them years to get good results.

    My point is, if we end the first half of the season in the top 5, then that is a better result than logically anticipated in this season situation.

  • 7th

    K14, in fact, luis enrique is actually better in tactics , probably everything than manzano,

    I follow Roma as I follow atletico madrid. its true Roma are doing worse than atletico,however you can see enrique’s tactics and his touches.

    the fact he is doing worse is because of individuals mistakes, refs…etc.

    And no, almose all the team are new to each other. not the same squad.

    I only want manzano to go cuz i dont like his football philosophy.

    there is a reason he stays in the club for one year. cuz he knows he will be sacked.