Europa League: Hapoel 0 – 3 Atlético

Atleti cruise to 14th consecutive European victory

Atletico Madrid player Raul Garcia

Atlético celebrate Cebolla's opening goal
(Marca.com)

Atlético Madrid have started the defence of their Europa League title with a 3-0 victory over Hapoel.

While star players Falcao and Arda Turan, as well as regulars Diego Godín, Filipe and Gabi, stayed behind in Madrid, the team that Simeone fielded was still more than capable.

‘The Replacements’ dominated from start to finish and will have assured Simeone that his bench players are ready to step up when needed.

Miranda, captain Mario and Diego Costa were the only ones to return to the starting line-up after Sunday’s 4-3 victory over Rayo Vallecano, and they were joined by squad players such as Sílvio, Cata Díaz and Emre, who hadn’t featured much for Simeone’s side so far.

On the left side, the coach handed a debut to Atleti’s final signing of the summer, Cisma, who made a good impression against the Israeli runners-up.

Two of Atleti’s longest serving players, who have never received much praise at the Vicente Calderón, ran the show in Tel Aviv on Thursday night. Raúl García and Diego Costa were involved in every offensive move and contributed in all of Los Rojiblancos‘ goals.

After the duo had already fired off warning shots for Hapoel, they set up Cristián Rodríguez for the opening goal in the 37th minute. The Onion received the ball just outside the box and blasted it into the top corner to give Atleti a deserved lead.

It was Rodríguez’ first goal for Atlético, and a fine one at that.

At the other end Sergio Asenjo had a quiet night. The home side only came close when Toto Tamuz volleyed wide after a nice move by winger Ben Haim.

Shortly before the break, and just a few minutes after Cebolla’s cracker, Atleti decided the match. Raúl García again won the ball in midfield, and Adrián sliced open the Hapoel defence with a fantastic pass with the outside of his right boot. His assist reached Diego Costa, who went past goalkeeper Edel in full speed and then calmly finished.

Often we’ve seen Atlético take their foot of the gas after a strong opening half, but the reserves didn’t hold back and continued their strong performance. After 63 minutes Raúl García decided the match with an excellent volley. The midfielder was unmarked and spectacularly converted Emre’s corner kick into a goal.

In the final minutes of the match Sergio Asenjo did well to keep a clean sheet. Although hardly involved, he managed to react quickly to stop Cohen’s low drive. It was a hiccup in an otherwise nearly perfect performance for Atleti. The boys got off to a great start in Group B of the Europa League and continued their win streak in European games.

The game between Viktoria Plzen, our next opponent, and Académica Coimbra, ended in a 3-1 victory for the Czechs. In two weeks we’ll see if they are able to prevent Atleti from getting win number 15.

Line-up: Asenjo; Sílvio, Miranda, Cata Díaz, Cisma; Raúl García, Mario, Emre, Rodríguez (“74 Juanfran); Diego Costa (“78 Saúl) and Adrián (“69 Koke).

Goals: 0-1 Rodríguez (“37); 0-2 Diego Costa (“41); 0-3 Raúl García (“63)


  • Kabir

    this team is undeniably becoming the third best team in spain, and a top ten team in europe.
    I am so proud. Remember where we were last year around this time?

  • DJ_ZA

    ‘Two of Atleti’s longest serving players’ …. i’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Not meant as an insult to the (in)capabilities of Garcia or Costa – they both had a good game today…. that’s just a damn scary statistic.

    But regardless, a fine start to this years campaign. Just have to find Adrian’s reset button!

  • Javi

    Cholo is looking real smart right about now.
    Imagine how he would look if we would have lost this game. This is all around good for the team in every aspect, from the confidence in the subs, to our coaches strategy, to the image and strength of the team, to the team and FANS psyche… good all around. It will give other teams more to fear or respect when they play us.

  • Kabir

    i dont know if anyone realizes but we are undefeated since april 11 against el eterno rival. this team we must finally end the curse. they are weak enough.

  • starvs

    I like Cholo.

  • Shlomgar

    Replaced my tickets with a guy in Real’s jersey. I’m ashamed. Got the best seats in the house in exchange for the OK ones I had.
    Mario is my new favorite player. Had organized the players and gave the 20-30 Israel Rojiblancos a round of applause. To top it all up, he took his shirt off and threw it over to us. A lousy Hapoel fan took it and disappeared though. 🙁

    Top player: Cata, Costa
    Top flop: Silvio
    Atletico is not the 3rd best in Spain, it is one of the 3 best.
    Auuuuuuupa Atleti! Grande Mario! Grand Simeone!

  • Urban

    I keep my fingers crossed for Raul and DC. They both have the potential to make it at the VC. I guess Reyes’ story should be inspiration to them – he was able to turn the worse boos I heard at VC into cheers.

  • Sinan

    Didin’t watch the game, so could anyone please tell me how Emre played ? Thank you.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Emre played a decent game, having some nice first touches.
    Hapoel were not match for Atleti.
    I think that Pulido, Saul and Manquillo could’ve perfectly started the match and we would’ve still would manage to win.
    I guess the youngsters will have to wait till we’re qualified or clinch the first spot in the group to see more action.
    Next is Viktoria Plzen who overcame a 1 goal deficit in the first half to win 3-1 against Academica. I think Plzen is gonna be the toughest team from the group, but we play at home next game and I presume Cholo is going to play with out best players so we should’t have trouble defeating Plzen.

  • Jose Ignacio Perez-Laorga

    No reason to get so excited, any team in La Liga could have beaten Hapoel by 2 or 3 goals easily. However we played with our second string players and they made us proud.
    Cisma and Silvio were a real dissapointment, Most of Hapoel’s goal chances were caused because of their really poor defensive performance. Emre played well, and so did Raul Garcia and Cebolla. DC the best of the game, and Cata has proven that he is so much better than Godin. He doesnt get nervous with the ball, doesnt make stupid chlidliss mistakes and defends like BOSS. He’s our best defender by far.

    Cholo for life!!

  • Atletista

    Whatever you say bruh… We as proud Atleticos have all the right to get excited.
    Cisma did fine, Silvio not too much. We kept a clean sheet so i don’t get this criticizing.
    Cata better than Godin?, Diaz defended against Hapoel… not Chelsea or Bilbao.
    I don’t get this harsh criticizing on Godin… True, he fucked up against Rayo in the third goal but the other 2 goals we’re not his fault, and if Atletico conceded 3 goals was because the whole team got destabilized and it was all the defense line’s fault not just Godin.
    Seriously, people need to use more criteria instead on blame it on one player. I’m getting tired of these critics to Godin. He is part of the squad and deserves respect. Football is a team effort. You play as a team you lose as team. End of the history.

  • Arjit

    I understand why you might be annoyed at everybody using godin as scapegoat. However, I really do hope you realize he’s one of the clumsiest players we have and there is some good reasoning behind all the criticism. He does put in some good shifts though which nobody every notices, but it’s his random (sometimes frequent) lapses in concentration that I personally really hate.

  • Jose Ignacio Perez-Laorga

    @atletista

    My criticism is more than justified!
    Silvio and Cisma were shameful today and Godin has made mistake after mistake after mistake after mistake. He’s a good defender but Arjit is right, he has frequent concentration lapses.
    And if you want to be truly proud of our team, we need them to be in champions and thats what we are aiming for, not beating Hapoel, a team that you never heard of until this week.

  • Gert

    @shlomgar

    Happy everything worked out for you! We should thank the club most of all, they did an effort as well.
    Grande Atleti!

  • Palestine-atleti

    The real test is next week, valladolid home, betis away, espanyol away within 7 days.. If. We managed to get 9 points then we can say we will be competitive for title and finish top 3 🙂
    I am opptimistic we will do it…
    Atletiiiiiiiiiiii….atletiiiiiiiiiiii

  • Shay

    Gert@:

    Thank you very much for all your help. We owe you one here in ISRAEL.

    VAMOS ATLETI!!

  • layi

    You guys are looking real good. Also nice as the club is maintaining major focus on La Liga. Cholo’s reign going good with good football.

  • Atletista

    @arjit

    I think you’re blowing Godin’s mistakes out of proportion. Yes, he makes mistakes but it’s not like he makes mistakes in every match. Some of you only criticize Godin, but when he plays a great game he is rarely acknowledged. No fair.
    He was in top shape against Chelsea and against Bilbao.
    Where is the reasoning?. Hit out at Godin every time he fucks up but when he plays a good game don’t recognize his efforts, like never?.
    Godin haters are gonna eat their words.
    I’m not taking this personally against anybody but it makes me tired that most people talk about Godin just to hit at him, but they never mention how important he has been for Atletico. People talk about Godin as he was the worst defender, and he is not.

  • Shlomgar

    Godin is a world class CB. Sure, he is no Puyol, Kompany or Vidic, and he is not a natural killer, but he has good defensive instincts, agility and speed. Most important, he is working well with Miranda. He might be a bit over confidant at times but you would rarely have something to say about him. And great defenders are the ones you’ll never notice.

  • Arjit

    I did acknowledge the fact that he does play well and doesn’t get credit from time to time. However, when we have our backs against the wall, defending our lead with everything we’ve got, godin the most likely to mess up. I can unserstand our fullbacks, they have to go up and down the flanks. They have to contribute to attacks and they work harder. I see juanfran mess up from time to tine but atleast he’s improving. Godin just doesn’t change. He’s definitely one of our best defenders, I’m not saying replace him right now with cata, but he’s clumsy.