As if expectations weren’t high enough after our spectacular triumph over Inter, Atlético now sit atop La Liga after hammering Sporting Gijón 4-0 at the Vicente Calderón on Monday evening.
The night ended as it started, in celebratory fashion. Before the match, club captain Antonio López presented the UEFA Super Cup to the rojiblanco fans and was welcomed with a round of applause from the Sporting staff and players.
After just eleven minutes the fans got the chance to celebrate some more, with José Manuel Jurado firing in a rocket from outside the area to open the scoring. The midfielder seems keen on a transfer away from the Vicente Calderón, but Quique Sánchez Flores made it clear to the player and the board tonight that he still counts on the young Spaniard.
Jurado started the match from the beginning, and when a Reyes corner was rolled into his path by Raúl García, the youngster showed great technique to smash it into the far corner.
Atlético weren’t going to hold back after going ahead and started looking for their second, with Reyes and Agüero pulling most of the strings, and it was the Argentine who brilliantly set up Diego Forlán for Atlético’s second. Agüero dribbled past four opponents, before he was finally bundled to the ground. But as he lost his footing the ball rolled into the path of Forlán who made no mistake from six yards.
At times Sporting looked to trouble the Atlético defence and just after the break came their biggest opportunity of the match. Former Atlético player Miguel de las Cuevas saw his shot saved by the right boot of David de Gea after a precision through-pass from Diego Castro.
Before long Atlético took control of the match again, with Agüero coming closest to getting his name on the scoresheet. Jurado gave him the ball on the edge of the box, before Kun cut in and tried to curl one into the top corner. Sporting ‘keeper Juan Pablo stood in his way.
At the other end Diego Castro wasted a good opportunity, despite having plenty of time to shoot after a deflected free kick.
While Sporting failed to convert their chances, there’s one man who never seems to struggle. After a brilliant passing move involving Antonio López, Jurado, Agüero, Reyes and then Ujfalusi, it was Diego Forlán who had no problem tapping in his second of the night, and Atlético’s third.
Five minutes after his goal the Uruguayan was brought off, still not quite 100 per cent match fit. He ends the night as the Primera Divion’s top-scorer.
He was replaced by Diego Costa, who finally got to make his Atlético Madrid debut, a full three years after signing for the club.
This match seemed to fizzle out after that, with Diego Costa and Sergio Agüero missing opportunities in the final few minutes of the game. But substitute Simão ended the night on a high by scoring an outstanding goal from outside the area, finishing a brilliant one-two with Mario Suárez.
With the late fourth goal Atlético are now top of la Liga on goal difference, and will be for at least two weeks, with the international break interrupting the league schedule. We return to play Athletic in Bilbao the following weekend.
Line–up: De Gea; Ujfalusi, Perea, Godín, López; Reyes, Raúl García, Assunção, Jurado; Agüero and Forlán.
Subs: Mario Suárez (“62), Diego Costa (“68) and Simão (“79)
Goals: 1-0, Jurado; 2-0, Forlán; 3-0, Forlán; 4-0, Simão.