La Liga: Atlético 2 – 0 Levante
Atlético Madrid got their 12th consecutive home win at the Vicente Calderón in La Liga.
The Colchoneros dominated the game against Levante from start to finish and, despite there being few opportunities, comfortably won by a two-goal margin.
The goals were scored by Adrián and Koke, while the defence kept another clean sheet. The only concern on Sunday night was the injury picked up by Rojiblanco top scorer Radamel Falcao.
Atlético started off brightly and won two corners in the opening minutes. Radamel Falcao came close to giving the Rojiblancos an early lead after a nice Adrián pass had set him free, but Navarro did well to block the Colombian at the last second.
Levante were happy to lean back and rely on their solid defence and weren’t about Atleti’s full pitch pressure, as they were content with letting the home side have the ball. Levante’s cautious approach allowed full-backs Filipe and Manquillo to join the attack on many occasions and after half an hour of play this led to the opening goal.
Javi Manquillo, the youngster who was picked by Simeone to replace the injured Juanfran, penetrated deep into the Levante box after a fantastic diagonal ball by Tiago and the right-back squared the ball to Adrián López, who made it 1-0.
Like Manquillo and Cebolla, Adrián was another surprising name in Simeone’s line-up, as Cholo decided to give Arda Turan and Diego Costa some rest in the midst of a packed January schedule.
At the start of the second half, Atlético fans held their breath as Radamel Falcao went down to the ground injured. The Colombian star was clean through on goal but pulled his hamstring before he could reach Munúa’s goal and had to be replaced. It didn’t seem to be a tear, we’re still waiting for an update on el Tigre’s status.
Atlético quickly bounced back from the setback. In the 61st minute Koke set up a one-two with Diego Costa and upon receiving it back the young midfielder beautifully curled the ball into the topcorner, far out of Munúa’s reach. Curiously Costa was the teammate to assist Koke on all three of his league goals this season.
The hard working Cristian Rodríguez came incredibly close to scoring Atleti’s third. Cebolla skipped past his defender and smacked the ball against the woodwork with a thunderous strike.
Because of a lack of offensive prowess from Levante and with the victory secure, little more happened in the second half. Juanlu did hit the side netting late on, but Thibaut Courtois’ impressive streak of clean sheets at the Vicente Calderón was extended by another 90 minutes.
Line-up: Courtois; Manquillo, Miranda, Godín, Filipe; Koke, Gabi (“66 Raúl García), Tiago, Rodríguez; Adrián (“73 Arda) and Falcao (“59 Diego Costa).
Goals: 1-0 Adrián (“32); 2-0 Koke (“62)