La Liga: Atlético 1 – 0 Celta
Atlético Madrid maintained their perfect home record in La Liga and ended what has been a fantastic 2012 with a victory over Celta de Vigo.
The Rojiblancos long struggled to break down their opponent’s defence, until an unstoppable strike by substitute Adrián brought down the Galicians.
The visitors, who have taken just three points from eight tries away from the Balaídos, defended collectively and seemed to have that bit of fortune necessary to get a result at the runners-up of La Liga. Early on they were saved by the woodwork when Koke’s attempt came back off the post.
Celta did well to break up Atlético’s play, but after half an hour of play Atleti created a series of opportunities that could’ve led to the opening goal. First Godín headed wide from a Koke free kick and in the same minute Diego Costa just missed the target after he was assisted by Juanfran.
In the absence of Filipe, Juanfran was heavily involved in our attacks and along with Koke and Arda he was one of Atlético’s stand out performers. The Turk created an opportunity down the left, but shot straight at Javi Varas.
Atlético were frustrated by Celta’s defensive efforts and were completely shut out for large parts of the match. After Diego Simeone used all three of his substitutions the team piled on the pressure even more and ultimately broke down the light blue defence. Seven minutes after coming on, Adrián tried to set up a one-two with Koke and fortunately received the ball back from a defender. Adrián didn’t hesitate and fired off a stunning strike which headed straight towards the top corner, leaving absolutely no space between the ball, post and crossbar.
It was only Adri’s third goal of the season, but it ultimately proved to be enough for a scrappy victory and Atlético’s 15th consecutive win at the Vicente Calderón.
Immediately after, Hugo Mallo had missed a huge opportunity to tie the game. Moments later, Miranda received his second yellow and was sent off, but Atleti managed to hold on despite a makeshift backline in which Diego Godín was the only natural defender. In the final minute of added time, the outstanding Arda nearly surprised Varas, but the score remained at 1-0.
Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Cisma (“76 Raúl García); Koke, Tiago, Gabi (“60 Rodríguez), Arda; Diego Costa (“71 Adrián) and Falcao.
Goals: 1-0 Adrián (“78)