The red and white aftermath: Match Day 1

Atlético come out of the gates punching in La Liga, with Sevilla their first victim

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa

Costa begins ascension into Atleti heaven (AS)

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

Other notes:

  • 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.

  • pantic#10

    I’m happy for Cebolla, hope this will be a great season for him.
    This was an important victory, Sevilla is tough and i don’t know how many team will win here this year, very solid team.
    Roma sold Osvaldo to Southampton and they will probably ask Adrian to Atleti.
    Adrian is a classy player and i still have trust in him, but last season was very dreadful; and now we have Leo.
    have you heard the rumors about Juanfran to Arsenal? don’t think this will happen.

  • JohnGreece

    Simeone is just terrific.He inspires the players,gets the best out of them,he can even transform a decent player into a Top player(Miranda,Juanfran,Diego Costa,Mario with other coach would not that good,i’m 100% sure) We play really entertaining football,even though we dont have lots of money to spend.When i first heard about it,i had my doubts of his career but now what to say first…If it was not for Barcelona,i would bet for the title this year!!!Aupa ATLETI!!

  • Silchas

    A victory for the start is always good, but what i don’t like is this ridiculous supercup especially that we must play against barca twice. -.-
    The new emblem on sevillas jersey looks like shit and they have also the Doyen group as jersey sponsor.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    “Heisenberg quality”

    “The red and white aftermath” is back !!

    missed you Martin 🙂

  • piserakos

    @silchas…. when i saw on rakitic shirt the ember of doyen group i got crazy… and also their new shirt sacks… but supercoppa will be good for our team it’s a trophy and it’s 2 games against barca… we can win this trophy… aupa aleti..
    hopes for a fantastic season

  • Urban

    Lovely game, so many positivies.

    We all missed Martin, but if I had to point out one thing I think should have been mentioned is horrible game by Gabi, who – in my opinion – is starting to show that he is not the quality we need.

  • kris

    Urban, I think I have to disagree on that one,,, I thought Gabi did okay except for that wide open miss. I have never always liked him,, but I think he did okay last night.. And,, Mario is back,, that’s great to see.

  • Chewie

    Indeed, one more great DM would be great, though Gabi in not that bad. Sevilla combined well, Emery is the right coach for them and they have quality players – even more credit to Atletico!

    That’s what Simeone is talking about – agressiveness and effectiveness in front of the goal is crucial, who cares how many times did they cut through our midfield and defence.

    A win is a win.

  • piserakos

    urban what????? gabi is our captain and he plays like a captain…. he is very passionate and clever he does most of the ‘durty’ work and he really helps our offence… no one told he is really talented that’s obvious but he is really great player so i disagree with you
    by the way he is my girlfriend’s favorite player for a long time:P

  • Solari

    falcao ?? who is this ??..
    all I know is “Diego Costa”..
    Villa ?? no I haven’t seen him especialy in the second half..
    Cebolla ??? yeah I know you’re speaking about maradonna..
    Filipe ?? yeah he’s the best player in the world..

  • MR

    My local sportschannels commentator said that after the renewal of Diego Costas contract the buyout clause still remained 25 Millions. Has anyone got any reliable info about that?
    As for last nights game the biggest + imo is that we managed to win even though we didn’t play well. This is an attribute of succesful teams. Any way, we must improve our game a lot against Barca.
    What didn’t surprise me was the magnificant performance from DC, he is so much more important to this team then Falcao was. That’s why i’m so worried about his contract. Btw is he also Mendes’ player? Hope not…
    Vamos Atleti!

  • Scott Lind

    Saúl assist for Rayo against Elche. Great start out on loan for him!

  • Kulan

    Yes, he is Mendes player. And yes, his release-clause was raised to 38 mill.

  • dircil

    To be honest, I don’t think we’re in our best shape with the formation of 4 4 2. As seen throughout the game, Sevilla dominated us in the midfield and broke many of our counter-attacks when we were running that formation. The situation only changed when Simeone introduced Oliver and Leo for the replacement of Villa and Arda, thereby switching the formation from 4 4 2 to 4 2 3 1. From that time on, I could see a huge improvement which resulted in our 2 late goals. For that, I think we’d better go back to where we used to be, I mean the 4-2-3-1 formation which helped us excel in the last season. Any thought guys?

  • yon

    Arda didn’t look happy, but he had been stupidly booked and wasn’t playing well, this to me was a warning to him from Cholo, as If to say don’t be so stupid and try harder or you won’t be starting!

  • kris

    Dircil,, the second half of the season we played was 4-4-2,, I believe.. but I love the 4-3-2-1 formation,, and I have commented that on this website a couple of times before,, and they said,, it wouldn’t work since Villa is also a main striker.. But umm,, I like this…

    Koke Oliver/Ljajic Arda

  • kris

    But we also have many other options on the same position,, though,, but I think Simeone’s gonna play with 4-4-2 if Villa is to start alongside Costa.. And,, ain’t nobody going to take Oliver,Koke,Costa,Saul,Manquillo from us,, Hell no.. If you even try,, u won’t know what we’ll do to you..

  • Piserakos

    Agree with dircil. I noticed from last year that i prefer a 4 2 3 1 formation and even i love villa when falcao left i preferd not to buy another striker but a player like ljajic or diego. Release cause of costa is 38mil(even that number not so big). Aupa aleti we gonna win barca