La Liga: Atlético 3 – 1 Espanyol

Arda Turan decides match against his favorite opponent with spectacular goals

Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin scores against Espanyol

Godín opens the scoring (AS)

On Sunday afternoon, Atlético grabbed three points against direct rivals Espanyol.

The Rojiblancos started brightly with an early goal for Godín, but struggled in the first half after Dídac equalised. An improved performance, with Arda and Salvio standing out, in the second half led us to an important 3-1 victory.

Both teams attacked the goal in the opening period and Diego’s shot almost gave us an early lead. After cutting inside the Brazilian aimed just wide of the target.

Some minutes later Diego did provide the opening goal. A corner kick by the playmaker was succesfully headed in by Diego Godín to give Atleti a dream start.

But Atlético’s joy was short lived. Although we had started the match strongly, we allowed Espanyol back into the game in the 19th minute. A clumsy pass by Tiago forced Filipe to give away a throw in, from which Sergio García received the ball. The former Spain international wasn’t attacked and crossed to the far post, where left back Dídac Vila, completely unchallenged, scored the equalizer.

After the goal Atleti struggled to pick themselves up and Gabi, already on a yellow card, almost got himself sent off while committing a foul just outside the box. The free kick was beautifully taken by Romaric and smashed against the post.

At the other end Diego set up Falcao, but the Colombian aimed straight at goalkeeper Cristian Álvarez.

In the second half Atlético came fresh out of the dressing room and Salvio immediately threatened with a strike from outside. A little later Toto provided an excellent cross for Falcao who only had to tap it in, but the Colombian was distracted by Arda Turan who jumped ahead in an attempt to head the ball in.

After exactly an hour of play, and after Godín had nearly scored his second, Atlético took the lead again through two great goals by our Turkish maestro. Arda spread the play to Juanfran on the right and received the ball back from the wingback after he had surged towards goal. Arda had the cross played behind him, but didn’t hesitate and scored with a fantastic bicycle kick to make it 2-1.

Just two minutes later Arda Turan scored again after he was at the end of a pass which was played over the top. The 25-year-old cut back past two opponents and scored after the ball curled over the goalline with a little help from the post.

All of Turan’s three league goals this season have come against Espanyol.

The post wasn’t so friendly for Toto Salvio, who hit the woodwork with a furious strike from outside the box. At the other end Coutinho just missed the target for Los Pericos.

Adrián, who was rested but came on in the second half, shot wide and another substitute, Koke, arrived just too late to profit from a rebound after Álvarez had stopped Falcao. In the final minutes Atlético could have scored even more goals to make the Dia del Niño (Kid’s Day) an even bigger spectacle, but Simeone’s men will be satisfied with the convincing 3-1 win, which ties us with Athletic in the 6th place of the La Liga table.

Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Godín, Domínguez, Filipe; Gabi (“46 Mario), Tiago; Salvio, Diego (“73 Adrián), Arda (“80 Koke); and Falcao.

Goals: 1-0 Godín (“9); 1-1 Dídac Vila (“19); 2-1 Arda (“60); 3-1 Arda (“62)


  • AIIM

    arda turan n n nnn n

  • Well deserved win but the Fixture list is not getting any easier. But Atletico can do anything. Come on Atleti We are gonna win the Europa league and get Champions League Qualification. I Love you Atleti But do you love me…….We will soon find out.

    AUPA ATLETI!!!!

  • Alex

    How many games are left in, 4 of 3 ? i dont know

  • palc

    Arda Turan, Arda Turan, Arda Turan, Ardaaa Turaaan. Arda Turan, Ardaa Turaan. Arda Turan, Arda Turaan.

  • starvs

    Arda obviously was great, but so was Salvio, unlucky not to score.

    Reinforce this team next year with Diego Costa + a very good CM and CDM and Cholo will take this team to champions league for sure.

  • AtletiFanInPhilly

    Atleti has four remaining matches:

    Week 20 – Real Sociedad (home)
    Week 36 – Betis (away)
    Week 37 – Malaga (home)
    Week 38 – Villarreal (away)

    I think, in the end, what could really doom this team are the results in the second half of the season–after the arrival of Simeone–against Sporting (1-1), Zaragoza (lost 1-0) and Racing (0-0). Two points of 9 against the leagues three worst teams could really come back to haunt Atleti. I hope I’m wrong.

  • falcao

    Incredible ARDA………..

  • ninutu19
  • Los Colchonero

    The hard math of CL qualification.

    With 4 and 5 matches to go for both Atletico and Malaga respectively, and with Malaga having a 3-point lead these are the odds I calculated:

    There’s a 5% probability of a no-contest.
    There’s a 6% probability of being equal on points.
    There’s a 18% probability that Atletico will beat Malaga on points.
    And inversely, there’s 76% chance that Malaga will beat Atleti on points (inclusive of the 5% no-contest).

    The best chance Atleti has is to win all 4 games (including one against Malaga) and have Malaga lose at least one (against Atleti) and tie another two more out of five. Malaga will play Osasuna, Atletico, Valebcia, Barca, and Gijon.

    Note: Discounting other team’s performance (especially Bilbao and Levante).

  • Mahmoud

    If we do beat Malaga (and given that the match is at the Calderon, we really should) then we would have the head-to-head advantage over them, so to finish ahead of them we would only need them to lose one other game (as long we win all our games of course) so I think 4th place is a still realistic possibility, although we’re obviously not favourites for that spot.

  • shlomgar

    I’m saying that, four and a half games to go we shouldn’t be talking about the plausible, and focus only on winning! Like in every time we should have taken the chance in the last few fixtures.

    Everybody is inconsistent this year so everybody will lose. We don’t have easy games at all, but all is winnable, and than 5% will become 50%

  • shlomgar

    Than we can talk about a chance…

  • Jorge

    We need only to win out, and everything else will fall into place. No one ahead of us will come out of this final stretch unscathed.

    To wit:
    Bilbao v Real
    Bilbao v Levante
    and Malaga still has to play Barca, Valencia, and Atleti.