La Liga: Atlético 1 – 1 Real Sociedad

Gabi the protagonist in another late draw for Atlético

Atletico Madrid midfielder Gabi scores against Real Sociedad

Atlético Madrid have given up the fight for a Champions League spot after dropping two points against Real Sociedad at the Vicente Calderón.

After an uninspiring first half – the 45 minutes could be videotaped and used to cure severe cases of insomnia – Atleti managed to take the lead in the second half.

A goal by Gabi seemed enough to secure a narrow victory, but after the midfielder was sent off the team was unable to hang on as we conceded another late goal.

Headers by Mario Suárez and Arda Turan were all Atlético produced before the break, with the Real Betis rollercoaster seemingly still on the players’ minds and in their legs.

The only moment of excitement in the first period was actually created by the visitors. After good work by Xabi Prieto it was Asier Illarramendi who shot just wide of goal.

The Basques had another big opportunity to score at the start of the second half, but striker Imanol Agirretxe also aimed off target after another good move by Xabi Prieto.

Undeserved, and out of nowhere, it was the Rojiblancos who took the lead. Gabi picked up the ball a couple of yards outside the box, created space for himself to shoot and scored with an excellent low drive to the far corner to beat Claudio Bravo and give Atlético the advantage.

Atleti were somewhat fortunate not to concede from a series of free kicks around the box, although one foul proved to be fatal for Gabi. The midfielder turned from hero to villain in an instant by picking up his second booking of the game. He received his marching orders as he lifted his leg too high and almost hit an opponent in the face, but his earlier yellow for dissent was even more wasteful.

Atlético seemed to be able to hang on in the 20 minutes that remained, but in injury time another late goal was conceded. Unsurprisingly, we were again scored against from a corner kick. It was substitute Carlos Vela who poked the ball in to give the visitors a point they hadn’t expected, but which they did deserve.

Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Domínguez, Filipe; Arda (“56 Salvio), Gabi, Mario, Koke; Adrián (“77 Diego) and Falcao (“87 Godín).

Goals: 1-0 Gabi (“54); 1-1 Vela (“91)

  • Lubo

    Gabi scored a goal finally, but received two fucking stupid cards. I also don’t understand why Cholo didn’t send Assuncao on the field instead of Diego (if he wanted to hang on the 1:0 result). Oh yes, and Courtois, the cream of the crop. Fuck me..

  • AtletiFanInPhilly

    Well, if we believe in karma, we managed to gain a point in the last breath (Betis) and lose two points in another last breath (Real Sociedad).

    All in all, what does this tie mean?

    – We need a better midfield. Despite Gabi’s goal, he is not a player that belongs on a team aspiring to be a top-4 finisher. Atleti needs to find replacements for both Gabi and Tiago.

    – Courtois still needs to grow. A lot. He has had two mediocre games in a row that have been very costly.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Nope. Gabi is indeed a valid player for Atleti. In any case Tiago and Mario are the ones who need a move away from the Calderon. Although Tiago could still be an important player if he was fit.

  • Javi Lozoya

    I can say that in Gabi’s excuse the first yellow card should’ve just been the foul. And Gabi plays for a team get it?, so in case he is out or sent off just like in this case someone has to cover for him, something Mario can’t even do. So don’t blame Gabi for the loss and say he should not play for Atleti. We win as a team we lose as a team. End of the story.

  • falcao

    We are so unlucky,but there is still hope….just look at things and you will reslise

  • Javi Lozoya

    Look at the bright side. We are on the Europa League final in Cholo’s first year ever as coach of Atleti. If we would’ve qualified to the Champions League then that would be a miracle and Simeone should be put in a pedestal and made an statue for him. It’s not his fault nor the players. I blame the board.
    Next year is gonna be our year if Simeone stays and if the board supports him. I hope they do. Cholo is gonna learn from this loss and his experience as the Atleti coach of what to do and what not. That’s gonna make him and the team stronger.
    Next season we qualify for Champions, reach the Copa Del Rey final, and win the Europa League again.
    Aupa Atleti!, Grande Cholo, Grande Gabi!, We are Atleti and we the best!.

  • Lubo

    @AtletiFanInPhilly: Yes, he needs to grow, but we had 2 young and not fully developed keepers in the squad already when he came. I was saying this when he was loaned in, there’s no need to be a breeding farm for fuckin Chelsea. Asenjo deserved a shot in the first team,he wasn’t any worse in Copa del Rey matches than Courtois. I still think that the only thing preventing him from being a starter is Courtois’ “mysterious” clause.

  • ratchet

    Im not sure what we should do about courtois. Hes a good keeper, but hes a chelsea keeper, not atleticos. Hes cost us with poor saves and not commanding his area well in these last two matches. I dont think getting him on loan next season is a good idea. He is not helping and all we are doing is chelseas job for them. I think we should bring in a back up keeper and have asenjo as our main keeper. I think we should forget about CL this season. Lets focus on the final and go for CL next season. Rest players against malaga and go all out against bilbao. I believe we can still keep Falcao, Diego and definately Adrian. We are showing we can compete for siverware by being in the EL final, so there are no doubts about the club being ambitious. This should be all the evidence the players need to be convinced to stay. Look how far we have come since January. Im confident next season we can finish in the top 4. I think CL was too big a step after Manzanos results. Lets be proud of our team for remainig in contention for so long. BRING ON THE FINAL!!

  • Javi Lozoya

    And just so you know, the Champions League qualification was not lost just because of this and the last match, we lost it over the course of the season.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Malaga and Levante are both losing at half-time, so we are not of Champions oficially yet. We have a slight chance, It looks impossible but there’s still hope, and they don’t call Atleti the miracle team for nothing you know. It’s not over till it’s over and it sure isn’t over just yet for us. We can do this!, I won’t give up neither the team until we’re officially out. Aupa Atleti Siempre en las buenas y en las malas carajo!!!!!

  • palc

    We should rest all of our players vs Malaga. And I mean ALL. Let Pedro, Saul, Manquillo, every youth/reserve players play.

  • Lubo

    Yeah, the idea of playing the reserves against Málaga is interesting, but you are forgetting that our B team is still fighting for Segunda B play-off spot. They are playing a game on Sunday. And we still have a tiny chance of 4th place. So I don’t think that Cholo would want to ruin 2 chances at once.

  • Yon

    On the plus side, Malaga are getting smashed and Levante are losing 1-0 so it is still mathematically possible to qualify for the CL!

  • Do not rest any players. We still have a chance of CL qualification. And if El cholo was here before manzano we would have been at least 10 points better than where we are now. Furthermore doesnt Bilbao play Levante? Oh wait thats after the Europa League final. Crap. But I think Zaragoza can do us a favor and We HAVE TO beat malaga so dont rest any players. If any got injured……… thats a chance we will have to take.

  • shay

    so what needs to happen so well get into CL next year?

  • Javi Lozoya

    Win the 2 matches we have left and that neither Malaga or Levante win any of their matches.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Malaga and Levante lost their matches so we have a slight chance to qualify to Champions League.

  • Derek Maaijen

    Two interesting stats, although they won’t make you feel much better:

    3 of the last 6 goals Atleti conceded came in the added time, and another two were scored in the 86th and 88th minute.

    Also, 4 out of the last 6 goals Atleti conceded came from corner kicks.

    Both are signs of lapses in concentration and I’m especially concerned about set pieces because Athletic are such a threat in the air

  • Yon

    Players are mentally and physically tired 🙁 No wonder, long season, small squad!

    At least Gabi will get a rest before the EL final!

    I know all the money in football is in the CL, but i’d honestly risk missing out this year to win the Europa again, the night celebrating the last was amazing, it’d be a far more memorable night than say finishing 4th…….

  • Mais

    if valencia mess up theres another avenue to CL

  • Javi Lozoya

    That’s true. In other news, I know the Madrid should be forbidden to be pronounced on this forum, but they’re defeating Bilbao 2 nil before the first half. And Athletic is pretty much playing with their first squad.

  • shay

    Still a chance… Classic Atletico season finale.
    I say CL is more important then EL. we can beat bilbao even when tired so dont let anyone rest. VAMOS ATLETI!!!!

  • ratchet

    I know mathmatically CL is within reach, but I cant see it happening. We need to beat malaga and hope they lose or draw their last match, which i think is granada at home. We also need levente to draw 1 of the two games they have remaing while we beat villareal. I cant see it happening. We may overtake levente but not malaga as well. Lets face it, we needed to win this match and we didnt. Lets move on and focus on EL.

  • ratchet

    Ive just saw the fixtures. If Levente lose to mallorca away and we beat malaga, we would be fifth. Malaga has gijon, not granada, at home. If gijon win or draw, which they will need to stay in the top flight, and atletico beat villareal, than we would finish in 4th place. This changes things. I can see malaga drawing with gijon, and levente with mallorca. Because of that ligulla rule, atletico will have a good chance. However, if gijon are relegated at the next round, malaga will beat them. The next round decides it all. If gijon win, levente draws or loses, and atleti win, as long as we beat villareal we have a goid chance of 4th We shall see..

  • Dircil

    Be practical guys, even though we beat Malaga, they still manage to win Gijon in the final match easily cuz Gijon has relegated already. I think we should give our key players some rest before the final europa league. Just dont think about CL at this time because it’s out of reach now

  • AtletiFanInPhilly

    After watching the Real Sociedad goal and reading these comments, I have moved to the camp of “Why keep Courtois as the starter when he is just going to return to Chelsea?”

    Despite moments of brilliance, he has to grow. Arguably, Asenjo and Joel also have to grow. But if they grow, they stay with Atleti, not cross the pond to England.

  • Epoy

    I rather have fresh legs for Europa League finals than gambling our Europa League chances in favor of a farout chances of CL where we will be having to depend to much on the results of not 1 but 2 teams…

    These lapse of concentration late game in our last 2 games are evidence of fatigue and jadedness.. Come on Cholo, its almost physically impossible. Bring in the kids for the Malaga match.

  • Dircil

    @Epoy: nothin else to say. U r totally right bro

  • Javi Lozoya

    The kids are gonna be playing the play offs so there’s no way they’ll play against Malaga. Simeone is gonna have to just line up the best players against the Boquerones. I’m suppose Bilbao is gonna do the same thing so both teams have equal chances in the Europa League.

  • k14

    What you don’t understand guys is, winning both the EL final and the Super Cup would reward only about 10% the amount you would get from reaching the last 16 in CL.

    Winning EL and Super Cup is nice glory, but just being in the CL Group is much more rewarding and efficient.

  • Epoy

    @k14 – there is too much work to be done to reach group stage of CL next year. If we haven’t f*cked up our last two games, then I’m up in having a strong line-up against Malaga because 4th place finish is already in our hands. There are too many “ifs” which should happen before we get 4th spot and many of those are beyond our hands. Europa League crown at this time would only take 1 victory. I would go mental if we field our best line-up against Malaga and go on not winning it while Bilbao rest Llorente et al against Getafe. They are going to annihilate us in the finals.
    If we lose in the finals, this season would be a forgettable season.