The red and white aftermath: Match Day 7

Diego Costa silences the Bernabéu as Atleti end derby hoodoo once and for all

Derby goals becoming habit for hitman Costa  (MARCA)

Derby goals becoming habit for hitman Costa
(MARCA)

What can we say? You wait 14 years to win a derby, and suddenly two come along in four months. Both at the Bernabéu.

On Saturday night, Atlético put in perhaps their biggest performance so far under Diego Simeone to beat Real Madrid 1-0, and move five points clear of their local rivals at the top of La Liga in the process.

The stage was meant to be all set for the home side, fresh off of a fortuitous win at plucky Elche, in what was also Gareth Bale’s home debut, but they were quite clearly second best.

The phrase ‘hombres’ was coined after a win against Osasuna back in January 2012 — Cholo’s fourth game in charge at the club — and his charges showed yet another example of their incredible cojones with a massive win.

Before the game, Atleti were dealt a blow as Mario Suárez, known to selectively up his game for big occasions, was ruled out, so Tiago came in to partner Gabi in midfield. Real were without the likes of Xabi Alonso and Marcelo, and also had Bale on the bench, but were still able to boast a multi-million pound attack, midfield, and defence.

With record signing Falcao no longer around, our starting XI cost less than half of Cristiano Ronaldo, who depending on who you believe, is not even the most expensive player in the world anymore.

Stats will show that Real had most of the play, but that’s nothing new for the Rojiblancos, who, on clear-cut chances, could probably have scored three or four times on another day. Ultimately, the only stat that matters is that after May’s famous Copa del Rey triumph, our 14-year winless derby run in the league is now also a thing of the past.

Tactically, Cholo had the team drilled to absolute perfection, and at the moment you really do have to wonder where a defeat is going to come from for this team.

Post-game notes and quotes:

Simeone elated with perfect Atleti

I don’t think anyone would so much as bat an eyelid if Simeone came out and took all the praise himself following such heroics — after all, he deserves it — but as usual, he was quick to pass on the congratulations to his players.

“They played a remarkably good match. From the intensity, to knowing where to hurt [Real Madrid], I must congratulate them because they responded well,” he told reporters in the Bernabéu.

However, again in characteristic fashion, he refused to entertain any suggestions of a title chase, whether he believes that or not. Partido a partido.

“It’d be perfect to talk about La Liga, but over the course of a season, there is a large economic gap. Far superior to the rest of us,” he said. “We try, with our attacking weapons, to leave everything on the pitch every match.”

“I am only going to talk about us. I think we played a great game. From the first player to the 18th, we all knew there was only one option: to win.”

The panther reigns supreme once again in the Bernabéu

Diego Costa is the man on everyone’s lips at the moment, although, perhaps surprisingly, it’s exclusively for footballing reasons. La Pantera‘s 8th goal of the season was enough to win the match, and also keeps him at the top of the Pichichi standings with Lionel Messi.

“Diego [Costa] is one of the hearts of this team, he conveys what the entire team is feeling, and he is a very highly valued member of the squad,” beamed Simeone.

“Of course, he still has much to improve upon, but we all need to grow day-by-day. That’s we are trying to do.”

It wouldn’t be Costa, or indeed, the Madrid derby, without a little madness, though. The Brazilian/Spaniard was shown a yellow card in the second half and nearly made it a red after a confrontation with referee Mateu Lahoz, having also nearly come to blows with Diego López earlier on.

“He handled himself well. If we take away his liveliness, it wouldn’t be him. He fought many players at a higher level than he is, Pepe, Ramos, Khedira… not easy opponents. He is a brave and humble player,” Simeone said regarding his star forward.

The two must be relishing their next trip to the Bernabéu if the last two visits are anything to go by.

Koke/Costa connection continues to flourish

Keeping with the Costa theme (and why not?), his near telepathic understanding with midfield star Koke claimed Real Madrid as its latest victim, the canterano’s delightful through ball pounced upon and finished delightfully in the 11th minute match-winning move.

Since the beginning of last season, they have combined for 16 goals in La Liga alone, and Koke, who could have also gotten his name on the score-sheet late on if not for the crossbar, was full of praise post-match for his teammate.

“I try and help the team any way I can, whether that’s with assists for goals or not. Diego [Costa] loses defenders so well, you only have to look,” he said in the zona mixta.

“I’m surprised Brazil haven’t called Diego. Could he play for La Roja? We’ll see.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to see Koke and Costa continuing their formidable partnership in Brazil next summer?

Captain Gabi leads by example

He may not be the most talented player in the world, but as captains go, Gabi has done a sensational job since embarking on a second spell at his childhood club, given the expectations. With the #14 on his back, Simeone has moulded a midfielder and leader similar to himself at the heart of the team.

Partnered by Tiago, he did a great job of stopping the supply to Real’s attack and cutting out space between the lines, as did the Portuguese veteran. Illarramendi was substituted at half-time, and golden boy Isco was also taken off as Ancelotti tried to reshuffle, but every combination he tried was shut down by the Atleti pair.

However, in true captain style, the former Zaragoza man followed his manager’s lead and handed the praise to the team as a whole.

“The performance we made was huge. We defended very well, worked hard and created chances, enough to score even more than we did,” he said.

“Beating a team like Real Madrid is not easy, but the team really deserved it. It was a very all-round performance, we stopped them having chances and frustrated them, which was important.”

Other notes:

  • This was Atlético’s sixth consecutive away win in La Liga, and record 16th unbeaten in all competitions. The last time we lost on the road was back in early February against Rayo Vallecano.
  • Like Barcelona, we have won 7 out of 7 league games so far, and this the first time ever that two separate teams have done that. We also became the first team to win away at Real Madrid in the league since Barça in 2011, some 34 matches ago. David Villa also played on that occasion.
  • The clean sheet means we also join the Culés as the best side in Spain defensively. So far this season, we have already stopped the country’s two giants from scoring in their own homes.
  • Filipe Luís made eight tackles over the course of the match, a number no player in La Liga can match this year. It also happened to be his 100th victory in Spanish league competition. Bale who?
  • Atlético managed five more corners and three more dribbles than Real, hit the woodwork twice, and also received more fouls. We don’t need to be reminded which team is seen as dirty and defensive, and which expansive, free-flowing, and powerful in attack (not that we particularly care, anyway).
  • The win means that for the first time in history, we have won two successive matches in the Santiago Bernabéu. Just six months ago, who would have thought it?
  • Less than 100 Atleti fans saw the win in all its glory, with the majority taking a stance against inflated ticket prices, of which the cheapest was €70. For the pocket that did make it in though, this would’ve been priceless.

  • AaX

    I believe Atletico is the ‘real’ Madrid simply because the victories we now have achieved we did after passing through many ‘real’ pains and God will reward such Faith and Belief. Amen

  • Manisurge

    hahahaha i simply cnt be more excited…..this is what we are talking about. Kudos to the team n Simeone espcially. Aupa Atleti

  • Pantic#10

    This is the perfect team.
    Gabi is Atleti. The heart and head of the team.
    Koke + Diego Costa, the lethal duo.
    Miranda and Godin are in the top 10 CD of the world.
    I’ll never stop to say thank you to Juventus about Tiago…they sold him as a piece of trash 🙂 …and Tiago helped us to to win trophies over trophies!! Yesterday he hit the post with a suberb shot.

    This is a dream, thanx Cholo.
    Have you seen Arda reproach Diego Costa for his Yellow card? Amazing 😉

  • Ash

    I heard from twitter that there were only 30 fans went to Bernabeu…

  • Silchas

    some of you guys noticed that Saul played the last games for rayo as Central defender? I think thats, unfortunately, a waste of his talent.

  • piserakos

    silchas i saw him… he is not a central defender and he sacks at this pocition…. there were about 50fans at bernabeu…. that was a great match it’s a shame win won ONLY with 1-0… we should continue that way… and who knows maybe in the end we will achive something fantastic… aupa atleti…

  • Will

    @PANTIC#10,

    I’ve seen that “reproaching” from Arda to Diego! Amazing 🙂 …
    Incredible Arda’s heart and the respect Diego has to him. Arda did that and Diego quietly heard.

    Is Arda already speaking Spanish this good? I know Courtois is but I’m not sure about him..

  • GreekRojiblanco(piserakos)

    will according to simeone arda doesn’t i don’t know for what you say i didn’t noticed that but probably he knows some words… courtois speaks well

  • Will

    @PANTIC#10 and @GREEKROJIBLANCO(PISERAKOS),

    got it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Mo5xhtbMfDw#t=3675

    The video will load 3 seconds before the moment we were talking about.

  • pantic#10

    I don’t know if he spoke in Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese or English… but he was pretty clear eheheh 🙂
    The eyes of the tiger! never contradict El Turco 😉 He’s the “Black Jannissary” (if you guys read the comic book “Dago”, you know what i mean).
    or maybe Ardan yelled:” This is Spartaaaaaaaaa!!!!” ahahah with the beard he looks like to Leonida 🙂

  • Will

    Sorry, it’s on the “1:01:18” – couldn’t set it up correctly.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    @WILL, Arda is a natural leader, with Atleti and with Turkey, and with Galatasaray before
    and what he did with Costa just proved that

    and about his Spanish, I believe it’s very good .. this is his 3rd year in Spain, and it is very much easier to learn a language when you practice it every day
    and I think it’s easy for a Turk to learn Spanish,
    there are many Arabic words in Spanish language, and there are many Arabic words in Turkish language ..
    so I guess there are many Turkish words in Spanish language

    but anyway, he only needs one day to learn how to say “shut the f**k up” in Spanish
    and that why I think he said to Costa !!

  • pantic#10

    You’re right Ahmad. Spain had a strong influence from the Ottoman Empire. many many arabic words for example: Al-Andalus = Andalusia and so on….

    It’s good to see such behavior; Arda knows that Costa is basic for the team, it’s good that he helps him to contain his aggressiveness.
    It’s the second time that i see Diego Costa go to the referee, facing it very very close and i’m always afraid that he could do something stupid.

  • GreekRojiblanco(piserakos)

    maybe cause i’m greek and historical addict i will tell you some mistake….
    @pantic… a turk to say this is sparta?? come on!!!! and by the way ‘jannisary’ is a turk soldier at the young age who was a villager
    @ahmad… you are right spain was an arabic country before some centuries espatially andalucia until castille country became the leader.. spanish is a latin language but from all the latin languages(italian,english……) it has the most arabic word cause from moors empire who were at marocco, algeria etc… of course it’s an ‘easy’ language and you can learn some words too easy so arda told him a phrase (can’t read lips in order to understand what he told) probably sh*t the f*ck up many atleti players when on to costa when he was close to lose his temper(villa did, gabi did and many others)

  • Pantic#10

    Piserakos have you seen the movie 300? he looks like Leonida who scream This is Spartaaaaa! In the movie. He looks like the actor.
    About Jannisary i was referring to a comic book, where the main character is called the black Jannisary.
    I was only referring to a look resemblance, not historical 😉