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)