Atlético & Saprissa play to scoreless draw

Atleti dominated for much of the friendly but could not capitalise on chances


Miranda fends off Saprissa player (Getty)

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.

Goals: None.

  • Andres

    Malaga sold Rondon to Rubin Kazan on an undisclosed fee.

  • leika

    They’re in big trouble and are losing their best players. They have no chance in CL this season and that makes me even more angry cause that should be us playing there.

  • yon

    This worries me if the AM isn’t linking well with Falcao…….

  • Paulo

    Anyone, who thinks Raul G can play as AM, Striker or CM hasn’t obviously watched many Atleti games during 2007-2011 (I saw almost all of them, been a fan of Atleti since the 90s), ’cause he was the shittiest midfielder ever seen on the pitch of Vicente Calderon.
    He never couldn’t link up with the attack, 90% of his passes missed their target and he killed almost every promising attack with a shot that went well over and wide.
    Also he usually lost his balls in the midfield and by trying to cover up for his mistake, he went and tackled the player from behind straight to the ankle and got a yellow or red card. Also gave away really stupid penalty kicks by tackling recklessly, like he couldn’t handle the pressure and just blacked out.
    No matter what he did at Osasuna, this is atleti with 10 times the pressure and I’m personally terrified by the though that Raul Garcia even exists in the Atleti squad, let alone somebody thinks he can replace DIEGO Ribas!
    I just gotta hope Cholo can make Raul G shine in a way I’ve never seen before, but still, next winter is gonna be hella hard…

  • Arjit

    I completely agree that he has been absolute shit for us in the past, we lost the ball every time he touched it. It drove ms crazy! But he has a great season at osasuna and it’s cholo coaching now. I think you’d agree if I told you juanfran wasn’t that great until cholo came around. He’s improved many players and I’m just hoping He can do the same with Raul Garcia.

  • Shlomgar

    I’ve been on a high since the end of last season and thought everything would be alright though recent thoughts and events has changed my mind a bit.
    Cholo is a great motivator, not once did he receive a club in mid-season and did his magic causing a relegation miss or a miraculous title win. He is not however known for his ability to build a winning team over the summer and lead them to wonder full-season glory. Moreover, he has only until the end of this year with us, and Cholo was never the most persistent of soldiers…
    Receiving the No.10 Jersey is an honor that Arda, in my opinion, has not yet earned, but will during next season. Nevertheless, counting on him as a sole playmaker and conductor is insufficient and unfair. Diego had his flaws but at least he stoke fear on opponents whenever he touched the ball, a gift for a player like Arda who could have space to do his thing.
    Adrian is returning on a real down after not winning a single match and scoring Nada on three matches, no hard preseason matches has been played and the squad haven’t even practiced once in full roster.
    It isn’t the end of the world right, but all is pretty alarming. I hope I’m overreacting on the hole subject and wishes for a great season under this great manager.
    Aupa Atleti!

  • Yon

    @Paulo I think Cleber Santana has that award lol?

  • Atletico fan

    @Paulo Raul Garcia the shittiest midfielder ever seen on the pitch of the VC… WTF?, you must be joking. For someone who says that has “watched Atleti since the 90’s” you clearly didn’t watched Atleti matches when Raul was here.

    1. Atleti qualified twice to CL with Raul ON THE PITCH and also won the EL and Supercup.
    2. Raul never played on his preferred position. Aguirre “converted” him into a DM. Seems you didn’t even realize that. It’s like asking Messi to play DM. No wonder why Raul never performed.
    3. There have been even worse midfielders than him. Costinha, Cleber Santana, Luccin, Colsa.
    4.We think he can play as an AM because there’s no one else and we hope Raul can improve with el cholo. We all wanted Diego to stay but it didn’t happen.
    5. If you support Atleti that much hen thrust that Raul Garcia will shine will el cholo. Don’t be so negative. At least el cholo will start coaching Atleti for a full season. That’s a major relieve.

  • Timo

    Fran Merida to Hercules Alicante

  • Dircil

    Good luck Fran. I think he just made a smart move as staying in a very competitive team like Madrid wont allow him to improve.

  • starvs

    totally agree with Paulo, truly terrified of the Raul Garcia experiment this year.

  • Paulo

    @Atletico fan:
    Actually, I watched nearly every game. I remember when he was signed and the thing is I really wanted him to perform well. He rarely did. Had some flashes, but most of his touches were really cold, clumsy and most of the La Liga teams made him look like a payaso.

    1. Being on the pitch doesn’t equal playing good. Raul G brought toughness to the midfield with his tackles. Lacked touch, lacked any vision whatsoever, passed really poorly and in front of goal he usually opted for a shot over the goal or ran straight into a defender. Was good a few times finding space and using his head in corners.

    2. I think you comparing Raul Garcia to Messi says it all.
    Actually, Aguirre was his original manager in Osasuna. After Pepe Murcia had left, Javier Aguirre came to Atleti and the next year he brought Raul G to the Calderon from Osasuna, if I remember correctly.
    When he played for Osasuna B he might have played in a different position, who knows.. Last season he played in an advanced role and scored more. Atleti isn’t Osasuna, though.

    3. They never got the playing time Raul did. Most of them performed better in relation to the time they were with the ball. In my opinion he was the shittiest.
    -(@Yon:) Cleber was very weak, but he never lost so many balls. Was used only on one season, the rest on loan and never was the player we heard he was in Santos.
    -I remember Gonzalo Colsa and Peter Luccin (both DMs). At least they had some class. Luccin and Assuncao had some similarities.
    -Costinha played half a year and most of the games in autumn. He was shit, but could string together a few passes with Maniche, Petrov and Maxi.
    The point is: All of them were pretty mediocre players who never adjusted to the playing style, but when we had Raul Garcia, we also had the strongest squads since the years before the two-season dip in Segunda Division. He clearly was the weak link in a otherwise promising squad year in, year out and like you said, he played in the wrong position. At that time I always thought he should have played only with his Mp3 player on the bench, like Maniche did (anyone remember?).

    4. I think Koke has a lot more future as an AM/CM. Oliver Torres has shown so much promise, he is gonna be great. Also Emre has lots of more creativity and elegance than Raul Garcia and can play well with Arda.

    5. I’m not trying to be negative. Negative is something Raul Garcia had a part in turning me into. On a postitive note, Raul is supposed to be a popular guy in the dressing room, maybe he can have a bit of a role there, in any other case Simeone can see something I don’t. Obviously, since he’s still with us… STILL TERRIFIED, THOUGH.

    Hope I never have to reply a post this long again, but Raul Garcia is something different.. I felt I had to come clean about my opinion, as there are some people who haven’t followed Atleti that long. Nobody should have a chance to take my reply personally, so if any of you do, I’m not gonna reply to it. ‘Nuff stupidity in the net already.
    Also, I’m not gonna talk about Raul G again before the season starts. Hopefully it’s something positive. Let’s leave it at that.
    !Aupa Atleti!

  • ansharY

    Thumbs up if you’re reading this in 2013.. oh wait, this is not youtube.

  • starvs

    shows most recent comments on the right of the hompage though….

    I’m still terrified of the Raul Garcia experience. Sell him and buy a proper play maker already.