La Liga: Real Zaragoza 1 – 0 Atlético

Atlético lose dreadful game after conceding a 95th minute penalty

Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao against Real Zaragoza


Atlético lost 1-0 away at Zaragoza due to a late penalty. In the added time of the match Apoño converted from the spot kick to stick a dagger through Atleti’s Champions League ambitions.

Although the Rojiblancos hit the woodwork twice, they simply created too few opportunities to claim a much needed victory in the race for La Liga’s fourth spot.

We were without the injured trio Tiago, Sílvio and Antonio López, while Juanfran and Gabi sat this one out due to suspension.

With Atlético’s clustered schedule Simeone also took the game against La Liga’s bottom-placed team as a chance to rest some players, as Miranda and Mario Suárez sat down on the bench.

Luis Perea, Domínguez and Paulo Assunção took the places of our absent players, while Koke started in the centre of midfield.

Like many of our recent games, the first half saw us struggling to combine in midfield or set up attacks close to the Zaragoza goal. In the midday sun Atlético didn’t seem as energetic as Simeone surely would have liked, but we improved as the half progressed.

After exactly half an hour Atlético created their first opportunity of the game, which should have given us the lead were it not for a complete lack of fortune. After great work from Arda in midfield he assisted Adrián, who hit the crossbar with a thunderous strike. In the rebound the ball fell to Falcao, who hit the post after which the ball again came back into play, leaving Atleti without a goal despite hitting the woodwork twice.

Arda Turan again was our main creative outlet in midfield, while Zaragoza looked to threaten from set pieces. One would think it has become a strategy to approach the game cautiously in the first half, as for the third consecutive match we went into half time without any points on the scoreboard.

After an hour of play Simeone subbed off both centre midfielders to bring on Mario Suárez and Fran Mérida, and for the first time in 30 minutes Atleti again created an opportunity when Falcao headed wide after a fantastic run by Filipe Luís.

With twenty minutes left the coach brought on his third substitution of the day, with Diego replacing Toto Salvio. The Brazilian playmaker returned to the fold after picking up an injury five weeks ago.

Usually Atlético play better in the second half, but against Zaragoza we were unable to improve as we seemed stuck in first gear.

As the game seemed to be coming to an end, disaster struck for Atlético. Far into the added time Diego Godín lunged in with a rash tackle to bring down Hélder Postiga inside the box and Apoño converted the ensuing penalty kick in the 95th minute to win the game for the home side.

Line-up: Courtois; Perea, Godín, Domínguez, Filipe; Salvio (“70 Diego), Koke (“63 Fran Mérida), Assunção (“62 Mario Suárez), Arda; Adrián and Falcao.

Goals: 1-0 Apoño p.k. (“95)

  • palc

    Man of the match: Godin.

    Why do we always play these 12 o’clock games?

  • Sinan

    He had no way out, he was trapped ther. And what does Godin do, he CHARGES him !

  • palc

    So Godin has scored an own goal and conceded a penelty in the last three games. No doubt our clumsiest player. Perea looks solid in comparison.

  • k14

    if godin didnt slide, it would have been a free pass which would resulted in a goal, Zaragoza player ignored the ball and jumped on godin and somehow that was a penalty.

    Merida cant do much, Arda and Adrian link well, so not sure why adrian switched to the other side in the 2nd half :/

    I think Pizzi would have been the solution in this game, since digeo doesnt seem to be efficient on the wings without a right back help.

    I’m sure next games Atleti will be dominating with out real CMF, and a reliable offensive right wing, so hope the fans here stop calling our team shit :/

  • k14

    with our* real CMF (Gabi).

  • Godin is so damn clumsy sometimes!!! And he could have done a bit more in that situation, I mean seriously, 94th minute?! And I also agree with palc, why the hell to we get these noon games? Whats the deal?

  • In our next 4 LEAGUE games we have 3 Madrilenian Derbies. WOW hope we can TRY to obtain the maximum points in the other 4 games…..

  • AtletiFanInPhilly

    Why did Simeone play a 4-4-2? I do not like this formation at all. Why not a 4-2-3-1, with Falcao as the striker and Arda, Koke, and Adrian behind him?

  • Veiko

    to atletifaninphilly : Adrian and Falcao links well and Adrian plays better as a forward instead of winger.
    Simeone should give a starting place to Dominguez, he hardly does mistakes like Godin

  • AtletiFanInPhilly

    Malaga with a big win today, which puts them 8 points ahead of Atletico. It is going to be a big hill to climb to get into Champions now.

  • Jorge

    That was a weak PK especially considering the moment. Having said that, we can’t let these weaker teams stay in the game that long. Score early, and the game opens up even more for you.

    As my Girlfriend just said: “typical Atleti.” How can I argue?

  • Javi Lozoya

    Disappointing result indeed, but we win as a team and lose as a team. Godin made a mistake yes but no need to blame for the lost. The whole team played awful. It’s not Godin’s only fault. And if things are working out with Godin why change him and play Alvaro instead. Cholo must have his reasons to play Godin instead of Dominguez. And I back Simeone for that.

  • starvs

    fuck that just disappointing. These noon games are just awful for us, have we won a single one of them? Villareal?

    Perea as RB hurt us, not as a defender, but he offers zero going forward.

  • Lubo

    This had nothing to do with the time at which we played. But it had everything to do with the lack of commitment, discipline (Salvio’s silly yellow is a perfect example), hard work and a will to leave the heart on the field. Except of Falcao, he was the only one battling in the field. The most disappointing was to see this whole team watching him fighting for the result, and they did just nothing at all. The Miracle of the Cholo effect is definitely gone, we are at the same place as we were when Manzano was leaving. Last 3 games and the La Liga table is proving this. The thing is, if we won’t play CL next season (I have no reason to think the opposite), then we have no chance of getting Diego on a permanent, or sustaining Falcao’s services. Being the 3rd best goalscorer in Spain and playing for the team that is pretty mediocre when at it’s best, that’s exactly the leaving-for-sure combination. Fight for relegation in 2-3 years, welcoming you with arms wide open…

  • Sebyk

    This was a complete misery and dissapointment, I find no words for it, such a horrible display and moreover against the worst team in La Liga – but this is Atléti, right? Today (as also against Mallorca or Granada) Atléti lacked everything that’s required in modern football – there was no spirit, no hard work, no aggression, no pressure on the opponent, no movement, no ideas and what’s worse no points. I’m only asking myself: where the hell is the team from January and February when Cholo arrived?! How is such a change even possible?
    This is the “return of Manzano” in all its “beauty”, it seems the Cholo effect has faded away completely. Now it’s the crucial time for Simeone to prove that he has the spirit, something that his predecessors lacked. But I’m afraid that we’ll finish the season somewhere at the tenth place and without Europe next year. We can really say bye bye to the Champions League, we don’t deserve it anyway.
    Since the Barcelona match (yet again!) the team’s level of performance has changed completely. History repeats yet again! This is Atléti!

  • Javi Lozoya

    “This is Atleti”, thank you captain obvious. Blame it on the board not Cholo. He is doing what he can with the squad we have. He is a genius not freakin’ Merlin. This is our reality much to the annoyance of some of you who said we had a “world class team, and the “3rd best in Spain”, and no we don’t. Except Falcao, Arda, Adrian, Courtois, and Diego, our players aren’t really the best in Spain. Admit it, Cholo is doing a great job with what we have, you want to blame it on him and the players?, go ahead, do it. But we all know who’s responsible for Atleti almost none existent success these past 20 years, and it’s not Cholo or the players. Show some respect for Cholo and of for what he did and his doing for Atleti. He is working hard but can’t make miracles. The players reserve some respect too. They have gave everything with Cholo. They’re just tired and frustrated with the board or something like that. All Atleti members deserve respect. Except for Cerezo and Gil Marin of course.

  • Arjit

    I’ll repeat it again, short squad. No coincidence we played great with one game a week. The way cholo likes to play, is high intensity, you can’t play like that every 3/4 days with such a short squad every game.

  • palc

    The afternoon games. We’re the team who has played most of them. Not including the two next games where we’ll also play at 12 o’clock. I really think this is unfortunate and works as an disadvantage for us. I don’t know why, but it just does. Now, the board has agreed to play these games, don’t know if we get some kind of compensation for it except for some marketing purposes in the Far East. But is it really worth it? I sincerely think we’ve lost valuable points in playing these noon games.

    Real Madrid have only played one noon game, while Barca simply declines to play at noon….

  • AtletiFanInPhilly

    Atleti now has 2 points of 9 against the bottom three teams–Racing, Sporting, Zaragoza–this second-leg of the season.

  • Lubo

    Sorry Javi Lozoya, but yesterday’s match was about the players’s unwillingness to fight for the result. If it was because they aren’t paid in time or whatever, I don’t care, because that would be completely unprofessional from them. I mean, everyone knows what kind of board we have, but all we can do is judge the way we play and support it or not. Cholo did great job till now, but it seems his spirit is dissolving and adding to clubs troubles. As Sebyk mentioned, we are sinking again after the Barca game.

  • Sebyk

    See Javi Lozoya, firstly I’ve been an Atletico fan for more than seven years now and to be completely honest I’m quite used to frustration and dissapointment. In other words, I don’t expect miracles. I want, however, to see players working hard, fighting for their fans and dying for the red-and-white shirt. On Sunday I didn’t see even a teeny weeny gleam of any commitment and spirit. I was completely disgusted, as disgusted as I haven’t been since Manzano times.
    Secondly, you must be very good at reading between the lines, because – where did I blame anything on Cholo or players? I can blame only myself that yet again at the beginning of the season (and also when Cholo arrived) I believed this could be a good season for us. Will I ever learn from my mistakes? And as I have said, this is simply Atléti! On the other hand, I really do believe we have the third or fourth strongest squad in the league – but most importantly Javi, could you please tell me which players of such a mind-blowing quality you can find in Getafe, Rayo or Levante? I’m pretty curious…
    Thirdly, being tired of the board (and however I hate them, you have no proof of this) doesn’t give them the right to perform like they did in Zaragoza. They are obliged to their fans and for them they have to leave their lifes on the pitch. Also, by undeperforming they only miss out on the money and bonuses they would get from the Champions League – very logical attitude, right?
    Fourthly, are you blind or something? You see no difference between the first matches under Cholo and now? Cholo effect has simply faded…

  • k14

    @ Sebyk
    Do u know that atleti been playing 2 game a week with an average of 3-4 days rest since 11th of February for about 12 consecutive match.

    If you don’t think this overload is giving teams like Getafe, Rayo and levante an advantage over us (Athletic and Valencia are in the same bout as us), then I advise you to support a team with a better budget.

    Yet, if you wanna stick with Atleti for sporting reasons and morals then hate those scum Barca and Real for stealing all the league money,
    and what I mean by that is, Barca and Real spend an average around ~500m on a yearly basis, while the closest rival come at around 20% of that.

  • Sebyk

    @ k14
    I do know about the TV rights distribution, it’s pretty sad and unfair, but on the other hand it’s also Atléti (management) who aid Barca and Real to keep the system in this way as our other other rivals are more handicapped than us – while we and Valencia get ca 40-50 millions/year, Sevilla gets roughly a half of this sum, Villarreal and Málaga even less.

    I do realize there are probably tired players in the squad, quite a few injured too, but I don’t realize one thing – how come that in Europa League Atlético battles and performs while in La Liga they show no spirit? When was the last time that Adrián played a very good game in the league (such as he plays in Europe)? Can’t understand this. Also if there are tired players in the squad, why don’t we do any rotation? Don’t remeber when Pizzi got his last start, Mérida proved he is ready for more. I utterly believe that both of them would perform better in Zaragoza than tired Salvio or Koke. And anyway, when Cholo had a rare chance to rest his players (e.g. after we scored the first goal in Istanbul), he let Falcao and co. on the pitch until the very end.
    I don’t know, tireness is undoubtedly an important aspect, but not an excuse.

    Yeah, I guess I see it all in rather a pessimistic view, but supporting Atléti teached me…

  • Javi Lozoya

    Fascinating tell me more

  • Sebyk

    …says a person who seeks the answer to this crisis in players being “tired and frustrated with the board or something like that”. lol. Looking for some more excuses now?
    So where is the great difference between Cholo and Manzano now? The only one I can really see is that he has the support of players and fans. And this is crucial – this is something that gives him some chance to overcome the crisis and lead Atlético to better times. As I have said, now it’s the crucial time for him to prove that he has the spirit, something that his predecessors lacked.
    By the way, recommend you this great article by Garry Nunn: It offers a slightly different view and maybe it will be able to show you things from a different perspective in which I have apparently failed…