La Liga: Levante 1 – 1 Atlético

Atlético start new season with a draw against Levante

Atletico Madrid midfielder Arda Turan scores against Levante

Arda scores against Levante (

The 2012-2013 La Liga BBVA has started with a 1-1 draw for Atlético Madrid.

In Valencia the Colchoneros rallied back from behind to share the points with Levante.

In the absence of Juanfran and Filipe, Simeone was forced to switch to a 3-4-3 formation in which Sílvio and newly signed Cristian Rodríguez featured on the wings. In the heart of our 3-man defence Cata Díaz also debuted.

Levante came out with all guns blazing, overrunning their visitors in the opening minutes. From the first corner kick they earned, Levante immediately scored as Nabil El Zhar struck from the edge of the box. Atleti failed to clear the ball and the ball fell exactly before the Moroccan, who slotted the ball into the back of the net with his left foot.

After the early shock, Atlético regained their composure and took over control. Tiago almost equalized, but the Portuguese midfielder’s header was off target.

In the 22nd minute Arda Turan did tie the score with a fantastic strike from over 20 meters out. Arda, who seems to have taken over Diego’s reigns as playmaker of the team, feigned two shots before launching a powerful strike which left Levante ‘keeper Munúa without a chance.

If his goal is a sign of things to come then there’s a lot we can expect from the Turkish 10 this season.

The Rojiblancos dominated possession and looked to beat Levante down the left, where Arda and Cristian Rodríguez made a strong impression. In the final minutes of the first half the home side crawled out of their shell and claimed a number of corners, which were easily dealt with by Atleti.

Levante were unfortunate not to take the lead again when Ibarra terrorized the crossbar with a shot from distance. The midfielder hammered the ball towards goal, but saw his attempt smash against the crossbar before going behind for a goal kick.

The second half saw more of the same, with Atlético struggling to profit from their dominance in possession, while Levante hoped to score from set pieces.

After an hour of play the disappointing Adrián was replaced by Oliver Torres. The promising youngster has been one of the highlights of Atleti’s pre-season and made his official first team debut. At seventeen, there have been only 7 canteranos younger than Oli to make an appearance for Atlético.

Simeone brought on Kader to provide a spark from the right wing and the youngster instantly delivered with a good cross to Falcao. The Colombian was brought down from behind and unable to reach to the cross, but referee Clos Gómez ignored his penalty claim and waived to play on.

Munúa did well to deny Kader by blocking his free kick attempt.

And so our first league match of the season – which started on Sunday and finished on Monday morning – ended in a disappointing draw. Next week Atleti will look to gain their first three points at home in a repeat of the Europa League final, when we host Athletic Club at the Vicente Calderón.

Line-up: Courtois; Sílvio (“75 Kader), Miranda, Godín, Cata Díaz, Rodríguez; Tiago, Gabi (“83 Raúl García); Adrián (“64 Oliver Torres), Arda and Falcao.

Goals: 1-0 El Zhar (“5); 1-1 Arda (“22)

  • AtleticoPhilly

    While we always prefer a win, I think we have to consider this result a good result. Playing so late at night without both Juanfran and Filipe Luis, I thought the team played a strong match.

    Without Diego, a play maker needs to emerge. Whoever it becomes, this player will be central to the team’s success.

    I do admit, though, that the starting line-up did disappoint me. I would have preferred to have seen Koke, Oliver, or Raul Garcia in the starting 11.

  • Dircil

    Cristian Rodriguez, Adrian, Falcao, and Tiago underperformed today, especially Adrian. He completely lost and I hardly saw him touching the ball. As for Cebolla, he lost his speed and dribbling skill that make a real threat on the right flank. Falcao couldnt shine today as he didnt receive much contact with the rest of the team, while Tiago has been always a big flop.

  • Sam

    I thought Cebolla was a bright spot today, but I agree with Dircil that Adrian, Falcao, and Tiago were duds.

    Arda could develop into Diego 2.0 by the end of the season, I just don’t know if I can wait that long.

    Kader looked good. Oli looked small, but on the attack was quite threatening.

  • Julian

    Falcao and Cebolla were the best players after Arda. Falcao kept making spaces and making play for his team. Cebolla did great on the left. The flips were Tiago and Adrian especially who had a horrid game.

  • Dircil

    Frankly, compared to Filipe, Cebolla only deserves to be a decent backup. Filipe is as fast as Cebolla, but he is better in terms of dribbling skills, ball control, crossing, defending. It is a pity that he incurred an injury and couldnt recover on time for the first match. Overall, we really dominated the game but problem is we hardly created chance and that part is worth improving

  • Shlomgar

    Worst thing in this one was seeing the three CB staying on their half not making any effort moving forward. Area was brilliant, Rodriguez good but our play was plain weird.
    Falcao was running around trying to get the guys to pass to him, Silvio and Adrian looked like they don’t speak a common language, Cebolla started his play way back and lost it. Al in all, nothing a little direction from Cholo wouldn’t fix. That’s why I too believe yesterday was not bad, even a bit exciting.

  • Arjit

    Kader impressed me more than oliver today, but they combine really well. Arda played very well today, and i can see him improving over the season as he gets accustomed to his new position. Adrian was very disappointing indeed, usually even if he’s playing bad, he creates the space for falcao, but nothing today. I really hope he can bounce back to last season’s level. Also, I’d really like to see emre play, he could potentially be a huge improvement over tiago.

  • Scott

    Really impressed with Kader! When he came on for Silvio he brought speed and flow to the right flank. He should have been a starter in match.

  • yon

    Gabi has absolutely no creativity at all! Adrian was just awful, so so awful! Cebolla is absolute dirt, just kicks it and runs, half the time it went out for a throw, no dribbling skill at all! Can’t say Falcao was poor, he must have been frustrated with the lack of service! Arda done well, looks like he will continue to in that role however id rather Koke or Oli and Arda out left again! Silvio wasn’t great either, impressed with Kader when he came on, wanted to make a difference!

  • Urban

    Gabi should be deprived from his right of taking set pieces, he is horrible at that. Kader’s free kick was already an improvement.

    Adrian and Tiago played really bad, Godin also had his usual shaky moments.

    I liked Kader, Cebolla and Silvio, who played a good game except from his horrible crosses.

  • Palestine-atleti

    I ve no idea why simeone started this structure?!!!! 3-4-2-1 is the reason we didnt win… Levante were lOst and very weak team.. If we ve one or two injuries we must introduce substitutes not change the whole system!!!!! Silvio godin mirinda kader- gabi mario oliver/koke arda- adrian falcao this is way better. Adrian was big flop coz he didnt play in his position silvio same thing falcao didnt recieve any ball and 3 DCs with no reason doing nothing!!!!