What more could you possibly want Atléticos?
Diego Simeone’s men jump-started their 2013/14 campaign with a thumping away win at the Sánchez Pizjuán.
Diego Costa — Sevilla’s worst enemy — led the way to the three points Sunday night…erm, Monday morning.
For much of the evening, it was a fierce, tug-of-war affair between the two sides, but Atleti’s muscles ended up proving mightier than those of their foes.
After the match, thanks to Costa’s double and a parting shot courtesy of ‘Cebolla’, we were left feeling a euphoria that bordered on the sensual.
Following months of inactivity, Atleti fans will be able to enjoy three games in a seven-day span.
The Vicente Calderón will swing open its doors for the first time this season on Wednesday, when we host Barcelona in the opening leg of the Supercopa.
Days later, on Sunday, we welcome neighbouring Rayo Vallecano for our second Primera clash.
We know it’s far too early but, prior to the straggling Monday night games in Spain, Atlético find themselves sitting pretty in second place and, most importantly, ahead of Real Madrid.
Post-game notes and quotes:
Simeone has yet to lose to Sevilla
Atleti’s boss of all bosses, Diego Simeone, has now faced Sevilla six times while at the helm of the squad and hasn’t suffered a single loss in any of those engagements (four wins, two draws), much to the delight of the Rojiblanco faithful.
“It’s very important to start off winning, especially doing so at the Sánchez Pizjuán,” Simeone said in his post-game press conference.
“We had a lot of respect for them because the team here has changed and they have great players. They played at a high level during the match but we knew how to wait and find the spaces from which to cause damage.”
‘Cholo’ continued: “Sevilla are different this year. Now, they play more collectively and combine a lot. They progress because of that and we knew that the key was to close off the midfield and, most importantly, to be precise–which we were.
“The way we responded, especially in the second part of the opening period and all of the second half, was key.
“We were more aggressive and decisive in front of goal.”
“No, absolutely not. Madrid and Barcelona play in a different league. This is a boring championship. We must wait for a different share of TV revenues because at the moment this is just a league of two teams.” – Simeone, on whether or not his team can fight for the league title
Costa starts the season right where he left off
Diego Costa began the present league campaign with a brace, the same way he finished the last one when he scored the final two goals of the term away at Zaragoza.
The forward showed unmatched intensity up front, not only delivering a fine pair of strikes, but drawing multiple bookings from his rivals.
If the past two seasons were the years of the ‘Tiger’, Costa’s performance in Sevilla would lead one to believe it will be the year of the ‘Beast’ this time around.
The Brazilian now has five goals in his last four appearances against the ‘Costa-makes-us’ Nervionenses, and is currently tied with Barcelona’s Messi and Pedro in the race for the Pichichi trophy.
“Costa did very well in pre-season, working hard and showing a lot of desire,” Simeone said of his lethal weapon.
“He knows he always has to be strong physically. He’s very important to us because he transmits his character and that rubs off on the rest of his teammates. Goals are a result of all this and how he sets up to score those far post shots he puts in.
“Diego causes his opponents to suffer from vertigo.”
Then spake the Beast.
“The most important thing is to begin La Liga well,” Costa told reporters in the wee hours of Monday morning immediately following the triumph, echoing his coach’s statements.
“We had to work hard to achieve the victory.”
Costa was then asked the typical, annual early season question: if he thought Atleti could challenge Barça and Real Madrid for the Primera title.
“We’re going to take it game-by-game,” he responded in almost robotic fashion.
“We’ll try to win every match we play and if there’s any chance we can fight Madrid and Barcelona, we’ll do so. But we have to think only about ourselves.”
With regard to new strike partner David Villa, Costa said: “Though Falcao’s absence is felt, we have Villa who’s another beast.”
The 24-year-old continued: “His work with and commitment to the team is incredible. He’s a very humble person and has a great attitude. I think the quality he has is noticeable and he will offer so much to Atlético.”
“Every time I’ve come here [to Sevilla] things have gone well for me.” – Diego Costa
Cebolla puts the ‘onion’ on top
Cristian ‘Cebolla’ Rodríguez roasted several defenders as he tore through the right flank and snuck into the box to deftly slip in our third goal and seal the deal against our bitter rivals of the South.
“They say it was a great goal but I haven’t had a chance to see it,” the Uruguayan modestly said afterwards.
“I’m happy about it and about the result.”
The winger dedicated his strike to his future daughter, who is due to be born in November, Atleti’s official website reported.
“Our goal is to win the Supercopa, which would be the most beautiful thing, put together a solid Champions League run and finish within the top three.” – Cebolla Rodríguez
- Copa del Rey hero Miranda nabbed the first Rojiblanco assist of the season when he just barely brushed Koke’s corner kick into the path of the ‘Beast’ on our opening strike.
- Koke, Atleti’s assist leader last year with 13 in official play, got his 2013/14 account started when he provided Costa with a leading through ball on our second goal. The chemistry between the Atleti youth product and the Beast remains at Heisenberg quality, as they have teamed up for eight of Costa’s last eleven goals.
- Léo Baptistão, who made his official debut with Atleti on Monday when he replaced Villa in the 70th minute, was also credited with an assist on a night in which our Brazilian players dominated the highlights. All the 20-year-old did was dish off the ball to Cebolla, who took care of the rest. As we predicted a few weeks ago, Léo has leapfrogged Adrián in the forward hierarchy. The Asturian, whose possible exit has been the subject of multiple rumours of late, spent the entire game on the bench.
- Gabi, Arda, Óliver and Miranda got our yellow card count started for the present term, each getting booked once.
- Once again, Oli’s league debut this season came in our opener as it had in the previous campaign. The youngster spent many months on the bench following his early appearance at Levante last year though, and it remains to be seen if Simeone will continue to count on him week in and week out. When he surprisingly entered the pitch early for Arda at about the hour mark, our bearded Turkish warrior didn’t look too pleased–neglecting to shake his replacement’s hand when he came off. Let’s hope there’s nothing to read into the incident.
- Atleti are unbeaten in eight matches against Sevilla in all competitions.
- Los Rojiblancos haven’t lost in 12 straight away games dating back to last season (9 La Liga, 2 Copa and 1 UEFA), their best streak away from home since the 1997 season, Pedro Martin of COPE reports.