Atlético gave away a victory but then rescued a point in what for so long seemed to be an easy encounter for the Colchoneros.
Against Betis we controlled for over 85 minutes, but we failed to score more than Koke’s solitary goal in the second half. Just as we had seemed to have given it all away by conceding two quick goals, our top scorer popped up to head in an equaliser in the dying seconds of the match.
In the opening period Atleti looked for Eduardo Salvio, who constantly got into good positions on the right but wasn’t able to find any team-mates with his inaccurate crosses.
Diego pulled the strings in midfield and played a slicing pass through the heart of defence to launch Adrián, but Thursday’s Europa League hero hesitated a moment too long and saw his shot blocked.
After exactly half an hour of play Eduardo Salvio again easily beat his opponent and reached to the byline. This time he did connect with Falcao, but the Colombian’s angle was too tight to flick the ball into the back of the net.
Shortly before the break Atleti seemed to take a deserved lead when Adrián volleyed home a ball played over the top by Diego. However, the Asturian was correctly given offside. Had he been aware of his position, then Adrián could have left for Radamel Falcao who wasn’t offside and who was waiting right behind him to finish the one-two he himself had set up.
Adrián again came close to scoring after Fabricio spilled a cross from Salvio, but the goalkeeper did well to stop the rebound.
In the second half the Rojiblancos continued to control the game with Salvio a constant menace for the Betis defence. The Argentine was at the end of a fast break by Atleti but was unable to keep his shot down.
Even from within the six yard box Atlético couldn’t score as Domínguez missed the target from close range.
It took a substitution for Atleti to finally break the deadlock. Diego – who wasn’t supposed to start today due to a minor injury but was forced to after Arda pulled out with sickness – was replaced by Koke and the canterano scored the opening goal in the 63rd minute. Tiago swung a cross into the box, which was squared by Falcao and finished convincingly by Koke with his ‘weaker’ left foot.
Curiously, on all three occasions that the youngster has scored our game finished a 2-2 draw.
A little later Adrián could have made it two after Atleti took a free kick cleverly, but his first touch let him down and he was unable to beat Fabricio with his left. From the counter attack Real Betis had their first big opportunity of the match. Rubén Castro should have equalised but lobbed the ball wide of the post.
Ten minutes before the end, Radamel Falcao either should have received a penalty or made it 2-0, but Atleti ended up empty-handed after Adrián played his team-mate entirely free before Fabricio. The goalkeeper clipped Falcao’s heels, but instead of going down El Tigre attempted to stay on his feet and score. He did manage to keep his balance, but was forced away from goal and unable to score, leaving fans and team-mates wondering why the referee didn’t point to the spot kick as ultimately there clearly was no advantage to be taken.
Disaster struck for Atlético as Real Betis equalised late on. A free kick by Beñat was flicked on, and at the far post Castro was allowed to cross to Pozuelo who scored off the crossbar.
The substitute almost helped his team to three points, because a few moments later he ran at the Atleti defence and assisted Jonathan Pereira who scored from the edge of the area.
In a last ditch effort Atleti attempted to rescue a point, and they miraculously accomplished their late mission.
30 seconds after the signalled three minutes of added time had already expired, it was Radamel Falcao who equalised, heading in a corner taken by Koke.
Considering the small amount of chances Betis created all match the Atleti players and fans will feel the result was unjust, and with only three la Liga fixtures remaining we will soon find out if we will come to rue our wasted opportunities.
Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Godín, Domínguez, Filipe; Salvio (“79 Arda), Gabi, Tiago (“91 Pedro), Diego (“58 Koke); Adrián and Falcao.
Goals: 0-1 Koke (“63); 1-1 Pozuelo (“86); 2-1 Pereira (“88); 2-2 Falcao (“94)