La Liga: Atlético 2 – 1 Málaga

Atleti overcome 1-0 deficit with strong second half performance

Atletico Madrid striker Adrian scores against Malaga

Adrián scores against Málaga (Marca)

Atlético beat Málaga 2-1 to keep their hopes of qualifying for next year’s Champions League alive.

In the pouring rain in Madrid the supporters saw a typical game of two halves. Before the break Málaga were on top and went ahead through a fantastic strike by Eliseu, but a second half turn-around saw Atleti take the crucial three points.

The match at the Vicente Calderón was more than a regular La Liga fixture. It was Atlético’s last home game of the season, and the first one played on a Saturday.

More importantly, it was the goodbye of our two longest serving players and first team captains, Luis Perea (314 appearances) and Antonio López (283 games and 13 goals), who received an emotional farewell from the Rojiblanco crowd before kick-off.

Realising the importance of this game in securing a European berth for next season, Diego Simeone opted not to rest any of his players for our upcoming Europa League final. Over in San Mamés, Athletic coach Bielsa did keep almost his entire starting XI on the bench.

Despite going out with our strongest line-up, it seemed the players already had their minds on the clash in Bucharest. Atleti misplaced too many passes and lost their individual match-ups in the first half, while Málaga did prove to be out for the three points.

The first opportunity of the match was a huge one and came after just a few minutes. Isco appeared all alone in front of Thibaut Courtois, but was unable to beat the Belgian as the goalkeeper made a save with his feet.

Málaga’s attacking intentions were clear from the very first minute and not much later Joaquín again tested Courtois with a strike from distance. Meanwhile Atleti had taken shots as well, but Falcao’s and Salvio’s attempts were off target.

The visitors seemed more focussed and they controlled the game through their creative players like Cazorla, Isco and Joaquín. The latter provided an excellent cross after half an hour of play, which was headed just over the crossbar by Rondón.

Some minutes later the Venezuelan striker should have opened the scoring, but he scuffed a perfect opportunity presented to him by the Atleti defence.

At the other end Radamel Falcao’s miss was just as, if not more, shocking. After a lightning quick counter the Colombian was gifted an easy goal, but our top scorer wasted the opportunity and placed Adrián’s cross wide instead of into the back of the net.

We were immediately made to pay for the miss, because moments later Eliseu scored with a strike that will surely be a contender for goal of the season. From 40 yards out the Portuguese winger hammered the ball into the top corner, leaving Courtois without a chance and giving Málaga a deserved lead.

Atlético improved visibly in the second half. The first opportunity after the break was for Adrián, who rounded the goalkeeper but was forced too far away from goal to score.

Our midfield general Diego was unable to dictate the game like we’re used to, but he did come within inches of equalising after an hour of play. His attempt took a minor deflection and whistled just past the post.

It was substitute Koke who scored the equaliser Atleti deserved after their improvement in the second half. The midfielder took advantage of Kameni’s poor clearance of a corner and scored an impressive volley from the edge of the box.

Seba Fernández immediately could have restored Málaga’s lead, but he was denied by Courtois.

Ten minutes later Adrián completed the turn-around and put Atleti ahead. The Asturian sped past his defenders after Falcao flicked on a long ball, and Adrián calmly finished with his left foot to make it 2-1.

It was Adrián’s 19th goal in all competitions, but only his first in league play since January. After scoring he and his teammates rushed to the bench, where they received and held up the t-shirts of their departing captains López and Perea.

The dedication was a great touch on what turned out to be a very good night for Atlético. With the victory we have overtaken Levante in the league table and we’ve moved within 2 points of Málaga, who play their final game at home against Sporting Gijón next week. Fortunately for Atleti, our fellow Rojiblancos are still fighting to avoid relegation and will put up a great struggle.

Atlético’s final league game of the season is on the road. We take on Villarreal, who have nothing left to play for, in a final attempt to qualify for next year’s Champions League.

Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe; Salvio (“91 Domínguez), Tiago, Mario (“57 Koke), Diego (“74 Arda); Adrián and Falcao.

Goals: 0-1 Eliseu (“38); 1-1 Koke (“69); 2-1 Adrián (“79)

  • KTBell

    Boy this is win is bittersweet after giving up that injury time goal against Real Sociedad. Hoping for the best though in the final week. Beating Bilbao in the Final would go a long way to making me happy too!

  • Great result although i wont cherish it hopely our next match we beat Villareal and Hope Malaga lost or draw.
    All my eyez are now on Europa League final, come on Atleti we will surely win it.

  • Great game but Malaga has to lose and we have to win. But I never gave up hope. The rest of you did. Shame on you. 😉 Well.. most of you gave up hope but i was not one of those. Come on Atleti Go for the Champions League and win europa leage and it is because of Cholo we are here.

    Aupa Atleti!!!!!! Grande El Cholo!!!!!!

  • Javi Lozoya

    I didn’t gave up either. I knew it was complicated but I knew it could happen and it is almost done.
    Atleti is the miracle team.
    Now we have to hope for Gijon to defeat Malaga. They have a slight chance to defeat Malaga and I think they’re not done either. It could happen.

  • Dircil

    “Atlético’s final league game of the season is on the road. We take on Villarreal, who have nothing left to play for, in a final attempt to qualify for next year’s Champions League.” <—- I'm not in favor with that statement. Villareal still struggles for its survival in La Liga. They have not been currently safe.

  • ratchet

    yh, if villareal lose and zaragoza and vallenco win, villareal are relegated. It will be tough for atletico to win, but we have to do it, and malaga have a tougher task of playing a gijon side who need a win to have a chance of survival. A draw would be hard for malaga to achieve, but they can win. However, we need to focus on bilbao and then villareal, and hope results go away. I had written off.atletico’s CL hopes, but given gijon’s situation and the fact cholo will drum it into the players how important CL is, i think we have half a chance. We have blown countless this season, lets hope we can take the final one, if possoble.

  • shay

    I knew he wont rest anyone!!! what a spirit cholo has!!!!!
    vamos atleti!!! vamos koke!! i love this guy

    oh, and i knew it will be 2-1 🙂


    @Javi Lozoya
    Does that prove anything.
    BTW I knew YOU were optimistic Before.

  • Sinan

    Guys, if Malaga plays 0-0 and Atletico wins. Than we will have 56 and Malaga will have 56. Who will posses the 4th place then ? Help pls.

  • Mahmoud


    In that scenario, we would finish 4th based on our superior head-to-head record.

  • Sebyk

    The thing is that Sporting needs to win (and hope that Rayo loses to Granada at home) to stay up. Even if the score was 0:0 after 80 minutes, Sporting would necessarily have to open the play and consequently give Málaga chance to score from a counter. Hence I wouldn’t rely much on Sporting, but it would be something beautiful, if we managed to grab the fourth place in the end…
    Anyway great effort from the players today!!! This is the team I know and the team I want to see. The 2nd half was unbelievable, especially considering their fatigue and their performance in the first one, but they gave it everything and battled their way through to the victory. Atléti do finally have some character and mental power – this is what we lacked for some many years before Cholo arrived. And the moment when they showed López’s and Perea’s shirt to the world after Adri scored the 2nd – beautiful! True team spirit! Aúpa Atléti! Grande Cholo!
    On the other hand we were lucky that the linesman ruled out Málaga’s goal in the added time which was completely ok. Also the fact that Bielsa rested all his key players today while we worked hard on the pitch isn’t very convenient. Llorente, Muniain, Javimar, Iraizoz and De Marcos didn’t play at all and will be well-rested for the final, while Iraola and Susaeta played only 45 minutes…

  • Urban

    It will suck big time if in the end it turnes out that Vela’s goal ripped us of CL action next season…

  • Andresa


  • starvs

    So many dropped points may come back to haunt us. Just brutal to think about if making CL means Falcao/Diego stay and not making it means they leave, and missing CL by such a small margin (potentially). What could have been….

  • shlomgar

    @Urban it did. Just like a bunch of others.

    I really believe that anything happening on last fixture would be a bonus for a thing I realized we missed on the last few weeks. Between Arda’s duo, Gabi’s long accuracy and Koke’s sharp instincts, we finally got a scoring midfield. Not to be taken lightly for it is one of the principles of a solid club.
    No major changes to be made over the summer please, for our players are becoming insanely close to an elite squad.
    Aupa Atleti!

  • Javi Lozoya

    Hmph. Someone told me Guardado has snubbed Valencia for us. Not sure to believe him or not. I suppose I won’t until it’s actually true. It would be cool to see Guardado, he could be an important player for us if he stays fit, he would arrive for free also as his contract ends this summer, but I don’t think we require any more winger. Actually I think we do, but first I prefer the club signs a real defensive midfielder. We seriously need one, someone like Strootman, Biglia, Yacob, Medel, etc…,.

  • Javi Lozoya

    That sort of makes sense as Valencia has plenty of wingers, (Piatti, thank God we didn’t sign him!, Pablo Hernandez, Feghouli, Jonas, Jeremy Mathieu, Bernat, etc…,.) and supposedly Adrian has talked to Guardado about a move to Atleti. They played together at Depor.
    That would be awesome if it’s actually true!, Guardado and Adri ripping the defenses apart while playing for Atleti!, and don’t forget Ruben Perez is gonna come back from Getafe I believe. It would be a great trio for Atleti with Adrian, Guardado and Ruben Perez.

  • Epoy

    Athletic Bilbao will be more fresher than us in Europa League finals but we are better team than them if both teams are in their best. We must destroy and bury them quickly because they will eventually pummel us in the later stages of the game due to better fitness.

    Aupa Atleti!!!!

  • Is there any chance for me to see this Malaga game now? Like download? PLEASE HELP 🙁

  • Sebyk
  • @Shlomgar

    Atletico didn’t surpass your expectations and if we win our last game we would be one points short of where YOU predicted us to be but we MIGHT get champions league football with 56 points, who knows. 🙂

  • Yes and Guardado would be a nice signings in our squad to me. He could MORE THAN replace Reyes and I think he has the ability to make us not miss out on the signings of Shaqiri. He would be much better but as Javi Lozoya said…. we need a defensive midfielder and i say perhaps a striker. Burak Yilmaz would be cool but if Falcao goes(which he won’t) I would Love to see Damiao but he is a bit expensive.

    And whats the shit I heard about Adrian Leaving. He has to stay. He is ALMOST irreplaceable. Well if he leaves I guess Diego Costa would replace him when he comes back form his loan spell

  • leika

    What do you guys think, how big is the possibility that Fernando Torres will one day come back to Atleti? (Maybe for the opening match of the Estadio la Peineta?)

  • Jorge

    Sinan and Mahmoud, Goal differential isn’t the tiebreaker in La Liga–it’s head to had.

  • Jorge

    Sinan and Mahmoud, Goal differential isn’t the tiebreaker in La Liga–it’s head to head. Atleti wins.

  • Jorge

    Sorry, Mahmoud, you got it right.

    ¡Aupa Atleti!

  • @Sebyk
    Man THANK YOU! 😀 where do you live, I’ll buy you a pint!

  • Sebyk

    Don’t worry man, glad I could help 🙂
    I’m from the Czech Republic, though now I stay in Scotland for most of the year (studying). You? 🙂

  • Sebyk

    @leika: Hopefully big, Fernando always said he would return to Atléti one day (hopefully still during his football years) and he’s no liar like Kun. He has Atlético in his heart and I fully believe he will come back. I can’t wait for this moment, I yearn for seeing him in red-and-white again…

  • Sebyk

    And since we are discussing Burak’s arrival here, I will try to join in 🙂
    To be honest, I wouldn’t be too excited if he came to Atlético. His stats are amazing, maybe more than that, but firstly he plays in the Turkish league in which – no offence – most of the teams don’t have much quality and secondly he plays only for Trabzonspor where the pressure is probably not as high as in Istanbul-based teams (or Atlético). What I mean is the fact that few years ago he was bought as a young starlet by Besiktas and then Fenerbahce, but he failed completely during these spells and was sold as a not-needed player. It might have been due to the pressure, maybe he was too young to cope with that, but what I want to say is that environment in Tranbzonspor where he’s the main star is something completely different than in Atlético, not mentioning that he’d have to get adapted to the Spanish league and tempo which is obviously much higher. I’m very very afraid that he’d be another Sinama-Pongolle or Mista – hence huge flops. Especially with Sinama he’s got a lot of in common…

  • Ringo

    We need a third striker who doesn’t need consistency to perform and score. I don’t know if you guys know Burak very well… Could he be? If Falcao and Adrian both stay, he most certainly will not be one for the starting line-up.
    Diego Costa performed right away, when joining Rayo and he is pretty strong. I prefer him. Unless he doesn’t have a Spanish passport yet, but he’s been here long enough, right? If we need two subs, I don’t see why not, since Borja, etc don’t seem ready yet (although they deserve a chance) and they could use more minutes than most third and fourth strikers get, so loanspells would be more useful.
    So a battle with Costa for third striker, if they can afford a fourth one’s salary, is fine by me.

  • @Sebyk
    I’m in Sweden but I come from Serbia! 🙂 Well if you’re ever around or even in Kopenhagen, tell me, I’ll buy ya a pint!:D

  • If anyone interested here is MY FACEBOOK page.

  • Javi Lozoya

    As you may all know Blackburn Rovers just got relegated. We could reinforce our squad with some of their players. I assume some of them won’t stay and play in the Championship. They have some interesting players. Yakubu could be a great signing as third choice striker. N’Zonzi the DM we desperately need. Hoilett, Gaël Givet (although I don’t like him that much but he is versatile), Morten Gamst Pedersen is a great free kick taker.
    We could sign these players for cheap or even for free. Although they’ll probably sign for other English teams. Just wanted to emphasize that Atleti could sign great players without spending big cash. Instead they’ll sign Emre, Burak, Michu, Casado etc…,. only because of Jorge Mendes and because their signings mean money for Gil and Cerezo. That’s just the way it is.

  • @Javi Lozoya
    Since you just mentioned Blackburns Relegation: Yakubu is good, no doubt BUT N’Zonzi is a beast and Hoilett as well as Givet!
    Sad they got relegated. Proper club, proper fans.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Exactly, that’s why I mentioned Blackburn because some of their players could reinforce our squad, they would be cheap or even arrive for free. Unfortunately the board has other players in mind, Emre, Burak, Casado, Michu, etc…

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  • Sebyk

    @Stefan: Cool, so we are kinda relatives, or Slavic brothers 🙂 And cheers man, I´ll remember that 🙂

  • @Sebyk
    Yes, Slavic brothers correct:) cheers mate!

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