The red and white aftermath: Week 35

Wild finish to clash in Andalusia sees Atlético and Betis split points

atletico madrid strikers falcao and pedro celebrate the colombian's last second equaliser

Pedro celebrates with Falcao after late equaliser

Though Radamel Falcao’s last second equaliser against Betis helped Atlético salvage a point on Sunday, it did little to ease the pain of a fan base that had watched their Champions League dreams fizzle out in a matter of seconds just moments earlier.

For a few weeks there, los Colchoneros – along with supporters – were starting to forget what it felt like to be losing. The last time we were trailing in a match prior to Betis’ second goal was over five games ago–in our derby defeat.

It was certainly refreshing to watch Atleti fight until the end as it’s very rare for los Rojiblancos to recover from this type of catastrophe, but that’s hardly a consolation after seeing us blow yet another chance to close in on the top four.

With only three league games left in the season, our hopes of securing a Champions League berth are quickly fading.

A lot of results have to go our way and we can’t afford a single slip-up in our upcoming home fixtures versus Real Sociedad and Málaga.

After those two matches, our following encounter is the Europa League final in Bucharest against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, the 9th of May.

We close out our Liga campaign in Villarreal the weekend after the final.

Post-game notes and quotes:

Simeone laments missed chances
“We could’ve resolved the game, but we didn’t and in football this happens…that in the end you don’t win,” Atleti coach Diego Simeone said in the post-game press conference.

“I don’t think the game was strange or crazy. Rather, I think Atlético played very well and created a lot of clear chances to resolve the [game], but we didn’t.

“The team’s defiance after going down 2-1 with only two or three minutes remaining speaks very well of the players.”

Asked if he thought his men should have been awarded a penalty for a clear foul on Falcao by Betis ‘keeper Fabricio, ‘El Cholo’ responded: “We had way too many chances to score to have to depend on a penalty.”

Koke scores first goal in over a year
In the 63rd minute, we finally opened up the scoring following a fantastic assist by ‘El Tigre’ to Koke, who blasted the ball into the back of the net with his left-foot. The Atleti youth product hadn’t added his name to the scoresheet in over a year, with his last goal coming on 17 April 2011.

The 20-year-old’s strike looked like it was going to be good for three points until los Verdiblancos awoke from their long slumber.

“We had the match under control, we had gone up on the scoreboard, but it wasn’t to be,” Koke told AS afterwards.

“There were three unfortunate minutes in which Betis capitalised on a strategic play and on a very quick counterattack.”

The Spain youth international assured he and his team-mates have “not given up at all” on their undying quest for a top four spot.

“There are still nine points left to play for and we haven’t given up on anything,” he said.

“We still have a chance. We have a fighting spirit in this locker room and we’re going to fight until the very end to achieve our objectives.”

Falcao bags goal number 33 on the season
“We’re sad about the draw, but we have to keep working and press forward,” Falcao wrote on Twitter.

The Colombian came to the rescue with the 33rd goal of his inaugural year in Spain and 23rd in La Liga. The striker also tallied his fourth assist of the season setting up Koke with a brilliantly placed header earlier.

Other notes:

  • Spanish radio station COPE reported prior to the match that Arda was kept out of the starting line-up because of stomach problems suffered in the hours leading up to Sunday’s kick off, but the Turk was able to play, coming on for Salvio with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
  • Atlético had announced on Friday that Diego had suffered a minor ankle sprain in our midweek match against Valencia. The Brazilian came into the Betis game as a doubt, but trained normally on Saturday and appeared in the fold Sunday, so it seems he has fully overcome the knock.
  • Luis Perea sustained a groin strain in practice this week and did not travel to Sevilla. It’s unclear how long the Colombian defender will be out, and the same goes for the still-recovering Antonio López and Sílvio.
  • Tiago saw his 10th Primera División booking of the season and will be suspended for Wednesday’s match against Real Sociedad.
  • Arda, with 9 yellow cards in La Liga, is one shy of a one-match ban.
  • Did you see that? No? Apparently no one else did either. Pedro Martín came on for Tiago in the 93rd minute, playing for about 60 seconds. According to Opta, Pedro is the only player to have appeared in La Liga this year without touching the ball.

  • shlomgar

    This match was crazy. I there was a moment I think in the 75th minute after an attack on Betis side that our defence was dreaming and a Betis player broke the offside trap on the halfline and got in front of goal. That happend a lot to Atleti, but not this year, last year. I was shocked. That was a sign for things to come and Simeone should have noticed it and change things.

    Very good game, very bad concentration. Adrian wasn’t selfish he eas just not aware of his surroundings. Remember at the start of the season he looked too much for the pass and rarely attempted a shot on goal. Alvaro and Salvio were distracted by the fans or something but the worst decision was from ‘Staying on feet’ Falcao.

    I adore each of these fighters but for now Ilost hope. We are third best in la Liga without doubt and with no proof

  • kabir

    interestingly, if levante, malaga and us tie, we will come out on top (given that we beat malaga). Has anyone else tried to calculate the liguilla that comes from a 3 way tie?
    It would be Atleti: 7pts
    Malaga: 4pts
    Levante: 6pts

  • Epoy

    @shlomgar – i agree with your statement, “We are third best in la Liga without doubt and with no proof”…

    But of course, we are the cursed ones..

  • ratchet

    levente has a better h2h record over us. If they drop 4 pts, malaga 6, we will be in 4th should we beat villareal.

  • palc

    That Falcao goal in the 93rd minute might prove fu*king valubale.

  • kabir

    @ratchet but in the case that levante drop 3 and malaga drop 6, we will also take 4th because of the liguilla rule.

  • palc

    If Levante, Malaga and Atleti end up with the same amount of points. We will be ahead of both?

    Becaues we will have better h2h record over Malaga, while Malaga have better h2h than Levante. So it would be down to goal difference?

  • ratchet

    levente have a better h2h record than us. We won 3-2 but lost 2-0, thats 3-4 to levente, they will be ahead of us if we are joint on points with them

  • Javi Lozoya

    Anybody watching City vs United?

  • ratchet

    Yh, i am javi, bloody city winning 1-0. Utd need to improve in the second half, or i think city will win the title.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Yea, things are looking pretty difficult for United.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Only five minutes to go!

  • ratchet

    FT 1-0. Great…

  • Javi Lozoya

    So City defeats Man United 1 nil, the Citizens are probably going to win the EPL now, unless something extraordinary happens, and seems Kun Agüero is going to win a trophy after all. Told you guys City could still win a trophy.
    Now, you may think Sergio doesn’t deserved to win anything because of how he left Atleti but other players like Kompany and Hart do, because they always give everything on the pitch, and also they’re fans do.
    Also they have Mancini who isn’t the best coach, but meh, they somewhat deserved to win the Premiership.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Chin up Ratchet. United is still the greatest team in England without spending fortunes on players. But next season Sir Alex might want to reach in his pockets and spend in some players. Hazard would be awesome, Eriksen as well, and I think Jack Rodwell would be a great signing too.

  • palc

    Agree. City has played good football. By far the strongest team in EPL. So it’s well deserved. But Kun can go fuck himself.

  • Sinan

    @ Pacl

    Augero is very overrated. He couldn’t do a thing today. Rio Ferdiand had him in the pocket. Couldn’t force anything, he got intercepted anytime he had the ball.

    He is useable against clubs like Swansea City, Sunderland etc. But against big teams he is invincible. Many of you guys think im hard in my judgement towards Aguero, but it’s just what i see, have seen all matches of City so far.

  • ratchet

    but dont forget, City play Newcatle at St James’ park next. If City draw and utd beat swansea at Old Trafford Utd would be 2 points clear.

  • kabir

    @palc @ratchet No, I am trying to explain that to you. In the case of a three way tie, it does not go to goal difference. It is decided by a liguilla, explained here:

    If you don’t understand spanish, it basically means the team who has taken the most points against the other two teams comes out on top.

  • ratchet

    But levente have taken 3 points from us, and we have taken 3 points from them, meaning it will go down to who scored the most goals over the two matches, which levente wins 4-3.

  • k14

    @ Ratchet
    What Kabir is saying is if by some chance we have the same points as both levante and Malaga (If we do beat them next game) it will be as if the 3 teams are playing a group, and the one with the most points win.

  • ratchet

    Oh, i get it, if we beat malaga, we would have taken 7. Levente would have taken 6 and malaga 4, meaning we would be top. So all we need is for Zaragoza and Barca to win, we beat sociedad and malaga, and as long as we beat villareal we would be 4th.

  • kabir

    just trust me on this one hahaha. i remember reading a lot about it when people thought real madrid barcelona and sevilla would finish equal on points in 2006/07