The red and white aftermath: Match Day 23

Atleti lose short hold of top spot following controversial defeat in Almería

Not exactly Aranzubía's night (AS)

Not exactly Aranzubía's night (AS)

Atlético suffered only their second loss of the present league campaign in Almería on Saturday, but it just so happened to be their second loss in the same week.

Much has and will continue to be made about referee Fernando Teixeira Vitienes’ atrocious officiating on the evening, and rightfully so, but Atleti have overcome adverse or blown calls all season long.

Not on this accursed night, though.

It seemed as if lady luck was on our side, even if Teixeires Vitienes wasn’t, when Almería attacker Aleix Vidal hit both posts in the 76th minute before the ball miraculously rolled back out and into play.

That was the last bit of fuel left in the luck tank for los Rojiblancos, however.

Just moments later, after 80 minutes of mostly aimless wandering about the pitch by Atleti, Almería’s Verza accidentally scored his first non-penalty kick goal in Primera.

Dani Aranzubía, in replacement of an injured Thibaut Courtois between the sticks, would admit he should have done much more to prevent the ball, a wayward cross, from going in.

Wackiness ensued.

The former Deportivo goalkeeper was charged with committing a penalty five minutes later and was unjustly sent off.

For the first time in Atlético history, a field player was forced to don goalkeeping gear in league play, with skipper Gabi assuming the role of shotstopper–or, he kind of tried to at least.

Gabi’s clean sheet record lasted all of about 30 seconds–when Verza doubled his account on the evening by easily converting his penalty.

The nutty affair came to a close and Atleti fell to second on the league table, the defeat capping off a woeful week for the men in red and white.

While we’re far from ready to call the situation a crisis, our boys will need to bounce back soon to get out of this mini-funk.

Los Colchoneros have the benefit of playing their next two matches in the comforts of their own home, and a win — by any margin — against Real Madrid on Tuesday will help lift the squad’s spirits ahead of Valladolid’s visit in La Liga next Saturday.

They’ll certainly want to avoid getting mired in a slump before travelling to Milan on the 19th of this month in their return to Champions League action.

Post-game notes and quotes:

Simeone refuses to pin blame on referee

“It was a match in which our opponents played the way they intended to,” Atleti coach Diego Simeone said.

Many expected the Argentine tactician to succumb to a tirade against the officiating, but Simeone kept his cool.

“In the first half, we played better, creating some chances, but football has these things…sometimes you win, sometimes you draw and other times you lose,” he said.

“We don’t look for excuses. We don’t blame it on the referees, nor on the wind, nor on the ball. We lost. Our opponents worked very hard and we congratulate them for that.

“The only way we know how to continue on this line is working hard, and that’s what we’ll do.”

When asked specifically about the ref’s mistakes, ‘Cholo’ responded: “I didn’t watch on television. What I’m most worried about right now is Tiago’s [injury].”

WTF Teixeira Vitienes?

With all due respect to Cholo, Teixeira Vitienes’ incompetence simply cannot be overlooked.

About three years ago, we wrote the following after a 2-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao:

As whiny as it sounds, there’s no denying that a grave injustice was served against our men by referee Teixeira Vitienes’ harsh red card and penalty on birthday-boy Perea. That absurd decision conditioned the rest of the clash […]”

While the likes of Almería’s Soriano and Barbosa were free to roam the field Wild West style unpoliced, Atleti were denied two clear penalties in the opening half and had one man injured with impunity and another one harshly dismissed.

It’s bewildering really that Almería committed 21 fouls to our 8, yet they saw two yellows while we saw two yellows and one red, and were charged with a penalty.

Real Madrid’s witch hunt of Ayza Gámez this past week resulted in the referee being tossed into the proverbial cooler — a la nevera, as the Spanish say — for a month.

This, because Gámez amended his official report to clarify that he had shown Cristiano Ronaldo red not for his clawing of Gurpegui’s face, but rather, that of Iturraspe’s.

It will be interesting to see if our friend ‘T.V.’ will meet the same fate or, if justice prevails, he has his whistle-holding digits forcibly removed.

Gabi and Tiago sound off

“The team is irritated, but we have to lift our heads up and work harder to end this bad run of lost games,” back-up to the back-up ‘keeper Gabi told reporters in the mixed zone.

“We have to be more united than ever. We’ve been in privileged positions and we have the luck of being here still and we have to fight to end this little slump that’s costing us points as soon as possible.”

The Rojiblanco captain then commented on the controversial decisions.

“Lately, it’s been easy to officiate against us. You must judge for yourselves. All you have to do is look at the images. It already happened to us at the Bernabéu. They’re obvious things that have to stop because we’re up there on our own merits.”

As Tiago limped out of the stadium, he told reporters: “Each time, it gets harder. I don’t know if there’s some confusion. Clear calls aren’t being made.”

Other notes:

  • Thibaut Courtois had started and completed 55 consecutive league games until a lower back strain kept him from taking part in goal at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos. The Belgian’s presence, as Saturday’s mishap clearly showed, is critical to our success.
  • When Almería’s Hélder Barbosa recklessly launched himself studs-first at the back of Tiago’s leg, Atleti demanded red. At the very least, yellow. Teixeira Vitienes didn’t even call a foul. The result? Tiago suffered a knee sprain, according to Atlético’s official site, and was forced to come off immediately.
  • The list of Atleti players on four-yellow cards remained exactly the same as a week ago: Filipe, Miranda, Diego Godín, Arda, Tiago and Costa are all one booking away from automatic suspension.
  • Juanfran started at left-back, taking the place of Insua–who himself was minding the position for the injured Filipe LuísJavi Manquillo started on the right. The setup seemed to have been working well early on, with Atleti creating most of their danger from the flanks. Did Cholo simply give Insua a break ahead of the second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal Wednesday, or is it a sort of punishment for the Argentine’s performance in the first leg?

  • Pantic#10

    See what happens?
    La Liga is for two, not for three.

    Anyway we’re stronger than all these awful referees. And we’ll succeed.
    Aupa Atleti.
    Ready for la remontada against real?

  • Urban

    This officiating was a disgrace.

    Teixeira should be suspended and if he isnt it will be blatant injustice which will prove that there is still quiet support for FCB and RM, and who knows maybe even corruption. This is super weird because it is obvious that the duopoly is killing La Liga but this doesnt stop them from supporting it.

    And, as in general I agree with Cholo that you should not but blame on refs, I think now he makes a mistake. We have to react and from tactical point of view we must say it out loud that we are victims and we were hurt. This way we will put all officials in our next games in the spotlight and put some pressure on them. Media will not help them because they are also biased towards RM (those from Castilla) and FCB (those from Cataluna).

    That really worked when we statred all the fuss about Costa being a victim. Refs used not to call fouls on him but since then in statistics he is the player who receives most fouls in the whole league. We should to the same now.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    for 63 consecutive games in La Liga, Atleti didn’t concede a single penalty,
    then, from the first game in the second round against Sevilla, when everybody started to realize that Atleti became a real candidate for the title:
    3 penalties in 4 games

    Alfredo Relaño, director of AS wrote an article after Sevilla game, and spoke about that penalty after 63 games without one, and he said :
    “Cerezo relations inside the Spanish federation gave them benefits, but every thing must come to an end”
    will, we will see if he can use his “relations” against Teixeira Vitienes

    but we can only blame ourselves, we played a very poor game, Aranzubia didn’t commit a foul, but he committed a huge mistake, and it doesn’t matter that he corrected it
    in many games that we won, there were a refereeing mistakes, but we overcome them by playing good and scoring goals, even in the last 2 games we won at the Bernabeu
    and there will always be refereeing mistakes, if not because they are against us then because Spanish referees are simply bad

    but that does not mean that we should not work on sending Teixeira to “la nevera”
    hell, we should put him there and let him freeze to death !!

    was it a mistake to loan Oliver, Leo and Josuha while we are fighting on 3 fronts ?!
    without Costa and Villa, Leo could be our striker vs Real Madrid next Tuesday, now I guess Simeone will call Hector again

  • Urban

    W played badly but not as badly to not be able to gain a penalty which could turn the game around.

  • pantic#10

    Let’s hope that Tiago will be out only for 2-3 weeks.
    Because now with only Mario & Gabi it’s not easy play every 3 days.
    Josuha….where are you?…

  • Paulo

    I sincerely hope Daniel Aranzubia never plays for atletico madrid again!
    When he was in Depor, he was making stupid decicions all day long and is partly to blame for their demise. I just couldn’t believe when we signed that clown, ’cause he has been a subject of ridicule for so long. Yeah, he can maybe save penalties, but his positioning and abilities with the ball are below the bar.
    Usually when we are butchered by the opposition players and the referee, Courtois saves us (Real’s goals were lucky bounces except Jese’s), but yesterday…

    The first goal was a goalkeepers mistake only seen in kid leagues. You just can’t be that ignorant. In the second one, he was sleeping and acted like only a total idiot would do by not playing the ball on the first touch (when under pressure from the forward Zongo). He was playing like a little girl, who ends up getting the gloves when kids play in the yard.
    After his mistake, he tried to act like a man, went for the ball and got it and usually in a situation, where the referee protects the goalies rights, in this case he was handed a red card, possibly because he “used his hands to prevent a player from getting the ball before him” but there was very little contact, if any.

    This referee is obviously completely anti-Atleti, has always been, to the point of making me start a conversation about corruption in RFEF that’s helping the big two every time they lose points.
    That leg-breaker by Barbosa was just so infuriatingly evident and still, NADA! Something must be done, ’cause there are so much dirty, cynical fouls made on our players. I don’t know what happened, but we are getting fucked up the ass on the field and the referees just look away.

  • Valinia

    its seems that its RFEF who help with the la liga dominance by barca n real, not just because the referees all seem to be against teams that might break the dominance (yeah we all know refs in la liga r bad… but i dun believe its a coincidence when most of the judgements bring benefit to the big2), but also the distribution of tv revenue (which simeone always complains). it becomes even harder to compete with the 2 giants when the rich gets richer n the poor gets poorer…

    n i just wanna know who decided to loan leo n guilavogui out? horrible decisions n now were suffering the consequences…

  • Jeronamo

  • pantic#10

    Guys have you read about Tiago…i’m afraid he’ll be out for a long period of time 🙁
    soo unlucky..last year at Sevilla they broke his arm and now.. this…

  • EC

    Why does sky continue to say Real are top of the league. Because we currently have a better head to head than Real should we not be top?

  • Amr Habib Mukadaffi

    Ofc Tiago is out, didin’t you saw what he did ? he charged him with both legs forward, with the intention to injure him bad.. And not even a red card, a shame !!!! Reffs like these, give the spanish football a bad name !!

  • starvs

    The Tiago challenge is an absolute fucking sham. TEXTBOOK red. Like literally, that is what you’d see in a ref instructional video on red cards.

  • farhan

    i think we simeone should send strong team in 2nd leg… sending B team is just giving up… which i dont like
    task is difficult but not immposible…
    hope Villa plays….he make huge diffrence…
    MARAVILLA

  • marcelo

    I hear we sold the naming rights to our new stadium to Etihad Airways for something like 155 million euros over 10 years.

  • piserakos

    @marcelo
    We didn’t sold them yet… There is an offer… There will be more with more money

  • Ash

    there is a theory suggesting that the arrival of Diego Ribas has somehow broken the working mechanism Cholo has established with Arda, Koke and Gabi and Thiago in the midfield. And so far we have won one but lost twice with Diego back in. What’s your guys’ opinion on this?

  • piserakos

    @ASH.. I’ve heard that… Before Diego we used to play more at the winds and keep the ball less… Now we keep it more and we play more dirrect… It’s is better for our team but we need some time to get used to this

  • marcelo

    Diego changed the game as soon as he came on vs Sociedad. It was a bad team performance from us vs Real and at Almeria, Diego was our best player. I hope we get a genuine right winger in the summer because Garcia cannot play there.