La Liga: Osasuna 0 – 1 Atlético

Godín ensures hard fought win in Pamplona for ever-improving Colchoneros

Adrián celebrates with goalscorer Godín (AS)

Adrián celebrates with goalscorer Godín (AS)

The march up the table for Atlético Madrid and Diego Simeone continued on Monday night, with the Rojiblancos‘ grinding out a vital 1-0 win away at Osasuna.

Diego Godín’s goal just before the interval separated the two sides, and moved the visitors within just two points of the Champions League places.

Cholo made two changes from the 11 that set aside Real Sociedad last weekend, both of which were forced. An accumulation of yellow cards meant that Diego and Gabi both missed out, so Koke and Tiago, captain for the night, took their place.

The hosts had the first chance of an uneventful first half, but Serbian striker Dejan Lekic couldn’t guide his header inside Courtois’ left post.

Neither team came flying out of the traps, although Atleti did have a great chance to open the scoring on 10 minutes. Goalkeeper Andrés Fernández, man of the match when the teams met in the Calderón back in August, was equal to Koke’s stinging volley.

The young midfielder then set up what perhaps should have been a goal for the away side. His corner found its way to Radamel Falcao, but the Colombian’s scrambled effort was ruled out due to a push from Diego Godín.

As always, los Rojillos did their utmost to play at a high tempo, but struggled to find any real sights of goal in the opening period. Roland Lamah did see his long range effort prevented by Courtois midway through the half, although that was the best it got for José Mendilibar’s side.

Atlético grew into the game as it wore on, and Filipe Luís was almost able to claim a fabulous assist on 39 minutes. The Brazilian left-back evaded a series of challenges before seeing his low cross cleared away.

Just minutes later however, the visitors did manage to breakthrough courtesy of a very unexpected source. Once again Koke’s corner found the boot of Falcao, and this time following in was Diego Godín to stab home his first goal of the campaign.

Koke, starting for the first time this year, nearly doubled the lead in added time, but his teasing free-kick curled the wrong side of the post.

Simeone’s team came out for the second half with the same attacking purpose, and soon found a sight of goal through Adrián. Quiet up until this point, the Asturian striker quickly burst into life, and was presented with another golden chance not long afterwards.

On 51 minutes, Osasuna’s usually dependable defence was split wide open through a combination of Falcao and Adrián, but the latter could not keep his composure when 1-on-1 with Andrés.

The rookie goalkeeper could do nothing about Koke’s rebound, but luckily for him the youngster’s effort didn’t find the top corner of his net.

The home side responded with a series of corners and crosses into the box, but saw their backline exposed yet again on the hour mark. It was the turn of Falcao to miss a gilt-edged opportunity for los Colchoneros, holding off both defenders and goalkeeper before proceeding to scuff the ball wide from a difficult angle.

15 minutes from the end, our curse of conceding goals to players we’ve loaned out almost came back to haunt us for the umpteenth time, but Raúl García’s headed effort was well-blocked by Courtois.

The Belgian ‘keeper came to our rescue yet again in the following passage of play, first diving low to deny Lekic, and then saving twice from what appeared to be goal-bound headers.

With the home side going all out for the winner, Simeone opted to sit back for the final stages and ensure his perfect defensive record remained intact. On came Luis Perea for his 300th appearance in red and white, as well as Salvio and Domínguez.

The local fans inside the Reyno de Navarra roared their team towards the Atlético goal, but as we have been getting used to in recent weeks, our rearguard stood firm and managed to deal with everything that was thrown at them.

By the time the final whistle was blown by referee Pérez Montero, not the most popular man inside the stadium, our defence had gone an incredible 449 minutes without being breached.

Next week, Atleti return to the Calderón after our exploits in the Basque country, where Cholo will be hoping to lead us to another victory against Champions League rivals Valencia.

Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran (“79 Perea), Godín, Miranda, Filipe; Mario, Tiago, Koke (“81 Salvio), Arda (“87 Domínguez); Adrián, Falcao.

Goals: 0-1 Godín (“41).

  • Javi Lozoya

    The Simeone effect keeps giving short term results, it wasn’t a really attractive match but we got the job done, two away victories for the first time since the beginning of the season and 4 consecutive matches without conceding a goal, really impressive, no doubt that Cholo has revamped the squad and has make it pretty solid and efficient, I still think it’s too early to say if Atleti is ready for bigger things but I think Simeone is gonna lead us to past glories and he is gonna keep making this team keep working good and keep getting good results.

  • Ian

    is dominguez losing his place in the team here??

  • Kaminero

    That’s a good question. It looks like Miranda and Godin, who were supposed to be on their way out, are now Cholo’s favourites. Ironically enough, the transfer rumours claimed that Miranda is not aggressive enough for Cholo and therefore he has to leave…

  • Gert

    The way Miranda tried to ‘clear’ the ball 2 times almost gave me a heartattack ….

  • AtletiFanInPhilly

    Solid performance.

    + Koke looked sharped — he definitely made an argument for more playing time

    + Courtois saved the game — tremendous game for him

    + Is there a role for Pizzi on this team?

    + With two competition–La Liga and the Europa League–I suspect Dominguez will see his share of playing time.

  • falcao
  • 20Corona

    If you are going to spam the threads with links at least give us some info about it!

  • Metro

    Miranda and Godin have managed to keep clean sheets, therefore theres no clear reason to sub them. Simeone just wants to have some stability down there. However, considering that Godin and Miranda are on the verge of suspension, I reckon Domi will get his chance really soon and then its up to him to keep his place.

  • dgsozkan

    First of all 3 victories in a row (2/3 away games) is impressive. Maybe,last game we didn’t play great but team wasn’t bad and no need to criticize anyone. I’m just content about the game.

    First half , especially first 30 minutes team tried to create opportunities with long passes. I’ve expected team to play faster because of the absence of Diego but you cannot play fast with constant long balls.However, players changed that after 30 minutes and we started to play more fluently. It’s a fact that captain should be on the field. I definetely felt his absence.

    I’ve found Mario defensively effective. But he should be more active at the offensive side of the game. I prefer more box-to-box midfielders, yet at the defensive side, he wasn’t bad at all. Miranda and Godin have managed to keep clean sheet, it’s true , still I can’t count on Miranda. He has a very risky style. Falcao and Adrian wasn’t in the mood last night. They were pretty bad. Then again, they have a right to play one bad game , we know that when we need them they would shine out for us.

    Koke showed that he can be a regular part of the team. Even though he is more box-to-box CM then an attacking midfielder(I think) , he has managed to make some moves which could change the score.

    I wanna say something about Courtois. We have to keep him permanently. Maybe there were not too many positions for him to save. But , he saved the day in one position.That’s what makes a difference between good goalkeepers and moderate ones. All teams need a man at the last line to trust in critical positions. I hope we’ll find a way to keep him.

    Last of all ,what was wrong with Osasuna’s players. Did they decide to cripple someone when they give up the game. They’ve beat Tiago to death. Especially ,Raul Garcia. What was his deal? He was extremely agressive.

  • ratchet

    i think raul garcia was quite poor – and dirty. it was like he hated the club, i certainly wont welcome him back next season. hopefully he moves to osasuna permanently. he should have scored on two seperate equations but failed to do so.

  • Metro

    Yeah, was such a shame to watch Raul Garcia. He is a professional and no-one expected him to play soft against us, but he should’ve at least show some respect to his former club and team-mates. The way he behaved and pushed Filipe was really-really low.

  • palc

    Miranda is a disaster waiting to happen. Got nervous everytime he was involved in the play. Fortunately all went well, but Dominguez should be a starter as he is a much more aggressive player and better at manmarking. I think Miranda is slow and weak. But good at reading the game I guess.

    Koke is such a star.