The red and white aftermath: Match Day 19

Atleti complete record 50-point first round with scoreless draw against Barça

3rd straight draw this season against the Culés  (www.clubatleticodemadrid.com)

3rd straight draw this season against the Culés
(www.clubatleticodemadrid.com)

The stalemate continued between La Liga’s two giants when the first half of the campaign came to a close for the sides on Saturday.

Atlético and Barcelona played to a second straight 0-0 draw, with the third version of the great battle of styles this season taking place at the Vicente Calderón.

The sold-out Colchonero fortress was bustling ahead of kick-off, the Guardian‘s Sid Lowe describing the atmosphere, in exhaustive detail, as: “LOUD.”

Atleti displayed a ferocious intensity in the opening minutes of the proceedings, coming out of the gates running as if they had just seen a portrait of Ángel di María.

Though their early flame progressively burned out as the clock ticked, the men in red and white maintained the unmatched tenacity that has defined the era of Diego Simeone.

But, neither team ever found that knockout blow.

Diego Costa failed to find the back of the net in league play at the Calderón for the first time this season.

Meanwhile, Neymar and Messi, who didn’t start, came on in the second half with just enough time to leave Barcelona’s faithful without any excuses but, they too, were kept in check.

The attention of the football world was fixed on this clash, a Neo-Clásico of sorts, with everyone expecting a clear-cut front-runner to emerge after 90 minutes.

But the deadlock, which now stands at 50 points, shall continue for at least another week.

Atlético must now prepare for another big home game, as the second leg of their Copa del Rey round of 16 match-up with Valencia, all level at 1-1, gets underway on Tuesday.

Then, it’s a third consecutive match at ‘Cholo Castle’ on Sunday when we take on Sevilla to start the second half of our 2013-14 campaign.

Atlético Madrid will continue fighting for La Liga, just the same as they have been.” – ‘Tata’ Martino

Post-game notes and quotes:

Simeone jokes of “small” difference in budget between Atleti and Barcelona

“The game was very even between the two teams in first in La Liga,” said Rojiblanco boss Diego Simeone, who, as a coach, has yet to defeat the Blaugrana.

“Both teams looked to strengthen their virtues and nullify their opponents’ with their styles. It has been a match disputed between two teams in first in the Spanish league that have totaled 50 points.

“It has been very competitive. There were goalscoring chances for both teams; few, but for both.”

While ‘El Cholo’ admitted that his men “have respect for Barcelona”, the Argentine also added, ironically, that “there’s a small difference of 400 million euros” between his squad and that of his weekend foes.

Of his club’s point total at the halfway point of the present term, Simeone said: “50 points are a lot. The players have earned them by working hard.

“They have worked and they have ran. Congratulations to the players. We played at home with the hope of winning, but there’s a big difference in the budget between the two teams.

“Now, we must rest and on Tuesday we have another important match: the return leg against Valencia in the Copa.”

Turkish delight

On Saturday night, no other star burned brighter than that of Arda’s, whose face has officially replaced the star on the flag of Turkey.

It was evident from the get-go that the 26-year-old came into the bout inspired. Just moments into the encounter, he elicited ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ when he tore through Barça’s defence and danced down the goal line before winning a corner.

Our bearded warrior was presented with the clearest chance of the night for either team, but was unlucky not to get the sweet spot of his boot to a loose ball in front of Victor Valdés’ box.

If he had, we’d be celebrating sole possession of first place.

Other notes:

  • Though our ‘Beast’ Diego Costa failed to score for the third straight game, his longest goalless streak in over a year, he finished the opening half of the league with the most goals ever by an Atleti player at the end of a first round (Costa: 19 in 2013-14; Baltazar: 18 in 1988-89; Falcao: 18 in 2012-13).
  • Thibaut Courtois earned his 13th clean sheet of the season (10th in La Liga), though he was really only tested once by La Liga’s strongest offense. The Belgian was quick to get down and block a low shot by Messi with 10 minutes left to go. The four-time winner of the Ballon d’Or has failed to get one past Courtois in four appearances against Atleti on the trot.
  • Godín, Koke, Filipe, Juanfran, Tiago, Arda, and Costa make up the laundry list of Atleti players on four yellows.
  • Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández, who, surprisingly, did not complain about the pitch at the Calderón this time, opined after the game that Atleti’s style is “different, but legitimate”. And not a single fuck was given in Rojiblanco land that day.

  • pantic#10

    amazing article 🙂

    Now i have the proof, Arda is a hero, a demi-god.
    He’s the avatar of Turan: the Etrurian/Thyrrenian goddess (corrispondent of Venus, Inanna, Ishatr… Afrodite and many others), Etruschi/Thyrrerian were immigrant from the Anatolia/Hittite land.

    Just like Paride/Alessandro who was protected by Afrodite, nobody was able to kill/touch him in the Troy Battle.
    Just like yesterday night, no one could stop Arda.
    Immortal.

  • ali_

    last 2 sentence 😀 damn, martin, love these posts!

  • Ash

    50 points is enough to guarantee we stay in la liga and won’t relegate, so that our 1st job is done. Now on to the 2nd task: Europa qualification. Our 3rd task will be championship qualification; 4th is runner-up of the league and 5th is title.

  • Dircil

    Still a Barca’s moron gave a huge fuck about their draw at Calderon last night! By the way, thanks Xavi for respecting the way we played!

  • kris

    Lol Pantic that description of the Bearded Warrior though. Ahha. And “not a single fuck was give that day on Rojiblamco land.” Ahha enjoyed it Martin.

  • yusuf

    Arda duyguları ile oynayan bir futbolcudur.Atletico taraftarı arda şarkıları söylediği sürece dahada büyüyecektir.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Tiago also has 4 yellows .. so that make them 7
    it’s a huge number .. especially for a team who start 95 % of their games with the same eleven

    Villa -as usual- was a disappointment, in both offensive and defensive tasks
    Raul Garcia, who played only 13 minutes was more effective than him, he was the one who passed that ball to Arda by his head, giving him a clear chance to score

    Villa is not that skillful, talented player anymore
    neither he is a physically strong player, despite the huge efforts of Profe Ortega
    he could never have won that air ball that RG8 won and almost gave us a goal

    I really believe that he took his complete chance, and I’m convinced that he has failed, and don’t say that he scored 10 goals
    10 goals in 1793 minutes of play for a striker is very few
    and let’s just take a look at his goals :
    He scored only 3 away goals
    He scored 6 goals in games that Atleti won with 4 or more goals (easy games) :
    1 goals vs Almeria (4-2)
    2 goals vs Betis (5-0)
    2 goals vs Getafe (7-0)
    1 goals vs Sant Andreu (0-4)
    And he hasn’t scored yet for Atleti in The Champions League

    Now let’s compare him with Raul Garcia :
    #TheRealRaul -just like Martin calls him on twitter- scored more goals (11) in just a little more than the half amount of minutes that Villa played (1177)
    He scored in all 3 competitions (didn’t score in the Super Cup because he didn’t play a single minute)
    He scored one more away goal than Villa (4)
    Hes scored 6 headers (compared to just 1 by Villa) .. so he can give us different solutions in different situations

    I don’t think that Villa should play another 1793 minutes in the 2nd half of the season,
    instead, those minutes should go to RG8, Oli & Sosa

    And finally, speaking of minutes, Leo just played 75 minutes with Betis
    that’s 25% of the minutes he played with Atleti in the whole 1st round (310)

    I wish he does the same thing Costa did with Rayo, scores a lot of goals, help Betis to stay in La Liga (because -unlike their neighbours- I really love them) and come back to Atleti a hungry, unleashed beast

  • ali_

    i am totally convinced that leo could have done the same performance like villa did.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    off topic :
    a 19 years old boy called Domenico Berardi, who plays in an Italian club called Sassuolo have scored a super hat-trick against AC Milan .. in just 47 minutes

    and there is still 20 minutes to play

    see you in Serie B .. Muntari

  • Pantic#10

    @Ahmad:
    Yeah 4 goals by Berardi 😉
    Ahah

  • Jeronamo

    Lol I thought I was the only watching that milan match

  • kris

    Preach Ahmad. See you in Serie B Muntari. I feel so sorry for Honda and Kaka. I believe we can do a lot more damage to AC Milan if Berrardi, a Juventus loanee can completely annihilate (not even the right word) them. Muntari wished for the wrong opponents.

  • pantic#10

    About Milan:
    Allegri should have left Milan A.C. at the end of the season….
    But probably Inzaghi Filippo (as rumors says) will be the new coach from today.

    Milan is living a “cold war” between Galliani and Barbara Berlusconi.
    Ariedo Braida has already left the society, the new team manager will be (probably) Sean Sogliano (now at Verona Hellas) from this summer

  • Pantic#10

    Arsenal and Chelsea are interested on Saul Niguez.

  • pantic#10

    Allegri out.
    Tassotti in. maybe with Galli till the end of the season.
    Inzaghi the alternative.
    Probably Seedorf from June.
    chaos. good for us 😉

  • pantic#10

    btw…this is the classic situation where the players play against their coach.
    The last night performance was shameful.
    Allegri has his big fault (many) but this is a coup d’etat by the players that followed instructions by the club.

  • piserakos

    I really don’t like Milan, (my girlfriend does) but now I made her Atleti. I saw also that game yesterday I think that we will really easy eliminate them, I see Serie A a lot and Milan sacks. Berrardi had sold to Juve for 8mill this summer (if I remember well). Now at Atleti.
    Against Barca we were the typical great Cholo team, Simeone has sawn us for one more time that he is a fantastic coach he really won the battle with Tata. Agree with you that Villa wasn’t that good, he also knows it I seen him running and pressing and trying like he was his last chance (cause it was). I don’t know if Garcia should become a starter, sure he should play more as Sosa will but he scores that much cause most of our opponents defence is on Costa and Villa. Arda my god that was the Arda we love fantastic, Felipe you shall not pass great and of course our Capitano were a trully warrior. Costa and Koke were the bad news, Costa for 3-4 game in the raw was bad and too selfish, Koke lost almost all the battles he really helped whan Simeone used him as a defencive mid. I sure that was just a bad game so I don’t worry. Damn this season La Liga will be too competitive, hope we will win it and hope something will happen with TV rights. Now we have a difficult programm, tomorrow we shall rest a little but only a little (not more that 2-3 players) and play our game (keep the 0 and hit them at counter attack). Sevilla (thank god we will be full) will be the next. Only issue how we will handle with the bookings.
    Oh I saw Betis (I also hope they won’t get relegated Ahmad) they were better but they remind me the old Atleti (big Loosers), Batistao was the best at the pitch, he got injured at about 60 minute and he played for 10 more minuted, then he went to the bench and all the pitch gave him a standing ovation (even if they were losing 0-2 and at the end they were cheering)