Atlético rewarded their handful of fans in Europe that had fired up their computers in the wee hours of the morning to catch their beloved in action with a yawn-inducing 0-0 draw.
The friendly against Costa Rican capital outfit Saprissa got underway at 4:00 CET, and the lively atmosphere at the local side’s stadium did little to stimulate the offensive production of either team on the field Saturday night.
Atleti’s two clearest chances of the first 45 minutes of play came from superstar striker Falcao.
It took Simeone’s men nearly the entirety of the first half to finally get a good whiff of the net when ‘El Tigre’, who has admitted he wants to add the free kick element to his already deadly repertoire, drove a low shot from the top of the penalty box that Saprissa goalkeeper Bolívar – who proved to be the Man of the Match – was forced to stretch out for and dig out.
Minutes later, the ‘keeper denied the Colombian off a header from close range.
The ‘Purple Monsters’ didn’t show any sign of being intimidated by their Europa League title-holding foes and played a surprisingly evenly contested clash.
Raúl García started in place of teen starlet Óliver, but his presence was hardly ever felt and there was a complete disconnect between the Pamplona-born midfielder and Falcao.
Little changed when 17-year-old ‘Oli’ came in with about 30 minutes left to play.
Filipe, Kader – who started at right-back – and whoever else found himself in a wide position in the attacking third, launched ball-after-ball into the opposition’s penalty area to no avail.
The most noteworthy event of the match pretty much summed up the nature of the evening: Cata Díaz was sent off for a second yellow in the 89th minute.
Thus ended Los Colchoneros’ brief tour of the Americas.
Our men will be heading back to Madrid in preparation for their next pre-season friendly scheduled for Saturday the 11th: the Trofeo Teresa Herrera against Deportivo de La Coruña at the Riazor.
Line-up: Courtois; Kader, Miranda, Cata Diaz, Filipe; Gabi (80″ Mario), Tiago, Arda; Cebolla (“62 Óliver), Raul Garcia (75” Borja); Falcao.