Atlético Madrid lost the second leg of their Copa del Rey clash and have been knocked out by Albacete (3-1 on aggregate).
An early goal decided the match and handed Atleti a humiliating home defeat against a club playing in the same league as our B team.
Atlético couldn’t possibly have started off worse. After just twenty seconds Víctor Curto found himself in a position to shoot and the number 10 beat Asenjo with a low shot from outside the area.
Gregorio Manzano had started his strongest available eleven. Miranda replaced the suspended Domínguez, while Courtois was given the day off for personal reasons and Arda Turan was out due to a flu.
Not much changed in Atleti’s game plan after the early setback, as they already knew they had to score three goals to overcome the 2-1 result of the first leg. But not for a moment did the side seem capable and willing to advance in the cup. Our chances were few and not threatening enough to worry the opponent.
Atleti’s first opportunity came after twelve minutes, when Diego Godín headed just wide of the target. Some minutes later Adrián appeared all alone before Álvaro Campos, but this season’s topscorer hit the sidenetting.
Los Rojiblancos were uninspired and sloppy and failed to create opportunities. Shortly before the break a shot from distance by Koke sailed wide, but that was about it. Meanwhile Alba looked to break quickly on the counterattack. In the added time of the first half Curto almost completed a brace, but he shot straight at Asenjo.
The only set of supporters that had fun during the first half were the travelling fans, who ironically sang “Manzano quédate” (“Manzano stay”), well realising that this was most likely the coach’s last match in charge.
At half time Manzano brought on Pizzi for Diego, but the first big opportunity that followed was for Albacete. Víctor Curto once again found himself in a great position to score, but Asenjo beat the forward one-on-one to spare Atleti from further humiliation.
The goalkeeper was Atlético’s most valuable player on the night, although it must be said he had very little competition to claim that title.
When substitute Eduardo Salvio volleyed a ball straight at Campos it was only Atleti’s first real moment of danger in the second half. It was only our second shot on target of the entire match.
A corner was later headed wide by Miranda.
It took until the 87th minute of the game before Radamel Falcao finally received the ball in a goalscoring position, but the striker couldn’t beat Álvaro Campos.
And so our final game of 2011 ends with a game that perfectly illustrates the entire year. The team showed no passion, no identity and no cohesion and were deservedly kicked out of the Copa del Rey at the hands of a third division side.
Line-up: Asenjo; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe; Assunção, Gabi (“64 Salvio), Koke, Diego (“46 Pizzi); Adrián and Falcao.
Goals: 0-1 Curto (“1)