The red and white aftermath: Match Day 36

Atleti loss to Levante sets up dramatic finish to La Liga

Atleti's 9-game win streak snapped at Levante  (clubatleticodemadrid.com)

Atleti's 9-game win streak snapped at Levante
(clubatleticodemadrid.com)

Ups…and downs.

They are a part of life and, more importantly, they are a part of being an Atlético fan.

Los Rojiblancos were riding a tidal wave of momentum heading into their encounter at the Ciutat de València on Sunday, but they were abruptly stymied by an early mishap, some outrageous goalkeeping by Keylor Navas and a suspiciously motivated home side, eventually falling by a score of 2-0.

Nearly a third of Levante’s stadium had been invaded by Atlético fans who had made the trek over from Madrid, but their strong backing wasn’t enough to inspirit a comeback.

Meanwhile, Levante, a team that had only one win in their previous nine matches, were apparently inspired by the promise of a big payout.

According to Cadena SER, Real Madrid dangled €2 million before les Granotes to be split among the squad should they defeat los Colchoneros.

Money talks.

Our hosts fought for every ball as if they were Super Mario Bros. coins. Navas, in particular, wasn’t going to let wads of cash slip through his hands.

But perhaps Florentino Pérez should have offered his own men some bonuses.

Los Blancos just barely survived to salvage a point (and possibly their own title aspirations) in the last gasps of their bout against Valencia.

The Rojiblanco faithful found themselves in the awkward and, frankly, dirty situation of celebrating Cristiano Ronaldo’s stoppage time equaliser versus los Che, a strike that kept Barcelona at bay.

How does that help us, you ask? Well, should we defeat Málaga and Real Madrid win their remaining three games, a Barça victory over Atleti in the final match day would grant the Merengues the league title.

The Culés would never compromise their precious valors and prevent their archnemeses from getting their hands on the league trophy, right? Wink, wink.

The way the title hunt stands following the rumble at the top of the table this weekend — Atleti lost and Barcelona and Real Madrid both drew — is that Diego Simeone’s men only need four points to clinch La Liga.

Real need to win their last three matches and hope for Atleti to lose at least one. Barça have to win both of their games and need Real to either tie or lose any of their final three games.

Madness!

Post-game notes and quotes:

Simeone: “This loss is the best thing that could have happened to us”

“They found the goal quickly and defended well,” Diego Simeone said after his squad’s fourth defeat in La Liga this season.

“The goalkeeper had a great performance and we tried all different ways to find the equaliser that would have made us more comfortable, but we couldn’t. Their second goal came at a time in which we controlled the run of play, and we had the desire to create chances throughout the whole match.”

Simeone continued: “This is the best thing that could have happened to us, because it will make us live out these next three weeks in our sporting careers with Atlético Madrid with high intensity, a lot of excitement and pure football.

“It’s the perfect moment, in which we will see who the real men and footballers are. It’s time to live three fantastic weeks.

“When I said La Liga was boring it started getting exciting.”

Captain Gabi wants no drama in Rojiblanco land

“I’m proud of the team,” Atleti skipper Gabi told reporters after the game.

“We’ve tried all sorts of ways today. Their best player was their goalie. We have to keep working and, next Sunday, there will be another final.”

He continued: “We’re hurt, but we can’t get all dramatic about it, because we have the privilege of depending on ourselves. Now, more than ever, I believe in this team. I’m not good at some other things, but I’m good with numbers, and if we win the next two games, we’re champions.

“We hadn’t won anything before, and we haven’t lost anything now. Everything gets nicer now. It’s always taken so much to get to where we are. No one has given us anything.

“On Sunday, we have an important game to play so that we can take part in our last final in the Camp Nou, and we will try to win no matter what it takes.”

Other notes:

  • Sunday’s defeat was only Atleti’s sixth in all competitions this season. Gregorio Manzano’s last spell at Atlético produced that many losses before the end of November.
  • Atleti’s starting back line will once again be incomplete next weekend when we host Málaga, as Diego Godín saw his 10th yellow of the campaign against Levante. The Uruguayan will be forced to serve an automatic one-game suspension for the final home game of the season.
  • Raúl García, with nine yellows, is one shy of missing our final league match against Barcelona.
  • Levante’s Papakouli Diop was, very shamefully, the victim of racism on the part of a group of Atleti fans. In response to the monkey chants and even some gestures that were caught on camera, the Senegalese midfielder began to dance in front of the Rojiblanco contingent. He explained the situation afterward like so: “It’s an issue that has affected me a lot. I went to take a corner and part of the Atlético support began doing monkey chants. To take the heat out of the situation, I started to dance, but I didn’t insult anyone. I don’t have anything against the Atlético supporters because it was only a section of their support that shouted at me. I think it’s disrespectful that it happens at all stadiums. It’s a provocation. I don’t know if it can be called racism, but the monkey chanting has to be stopped now.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    ** Let me start with the racism :
    It’s very outrageous and shameful, and it just keep going on by many fans including ours,
    that was the second incident from Atleti fans this season (that we know about) after what happened in UEFA Youth League against Man City
    what I don’t understand is that there are no punishments from the LFP or RFEF
    in most countries and in FIFA & UEFA there are severe punishments including paying
    a big amount of money and playing behind closed doors or at last closing the part of the stands in which the abuse happened
    I have to agree with Dani Alves : “They sell the country as being first world but in certain things they are very backward.”
    and about those racists Atleti fans, I think signing a black star player maybe will change the behaviors of some of them

    WE ARE DEEPLY SORRY DIOP

    ** About Real Madrid’s €2 million payment (another thing in which Spain is very backward), I don’t think that was the reason we lost
    Levante didn’t need Florentino’s money to have a motive, they are that type of teams who always make it difficult for big teams at their homes, while they can’t do the same against smaller teams, just like Osasuna & Malaga
    we didn’t win there since 2007
    and this season, they draw with Barca and were wining against Real 2-1 until
    min. 90 when Real scored 2 late goals and won 2-3
    we shot ourselves in the foot, scoring a very early own goal and wasting a couple of very easy scoring chances

    ** Martin, last night we had a big debate about “Real wining their remaining games will help Atleti” .. I understand, and you (all of you who believe that) have a great point, but I repeat : I disagree, for these 3 reasons :
    1- I just don’t believe that Barca will let us win (or draw)
    they are a big team, and big teams don’t do such things
    beside, it will be suspicious and could have bad consequences and they had enough problems this season
    2- what if we lost against Malaga ?!
    then we all will wish that Real have dropped some points
    3- if we are going to lose the title, then I obviously prefer to lose it to Barca not Real

    anyway, if we couldn’t win at Calderon and draw at Camp Nou then we have only ourselves to blame

    ** and let me end like Martin :
    Other Notes :
    -Atleti legend Luis Aragones still holds the record for the most consecutive wins in
    La Liga for an Atleti coach with 10 games (in 1983)
    Simeone was only 1 game to equal that record in 2 occasions this season, in yesterday’s game and against Espanyol (including 1 game from last season,
    Zaragoza 1-3 Atleti)

    -That was the 9th start for Alderweireld in La Liga,
    in those 9 games, Atleti lost 3, drawn 1 and won 5
    from the numbers one might think he is not a good player or that he is a jinx
    but the fact is that he is a very good player, he is a good CB and yesterday he was
    a good RB, and he has something that Juanfran hasn’t : a good shoot

    He was a good signing and we should keep him for a long time especially that Miranda will turn 30 next September and Godin will turn 29 next February, while the Belgian is 25

    -In the last 4 games for Atleti in Estadio Ciudad de Valencia in La Liga, they conceded an early goal :
    04 Dec. 2010, min 3 by Nano
    08 April 2012, min 1 by Valdo
    19 Aug. 2012, min 5 by El Zhar
    and yesterday, min 7 by Filipe

    I don’t know what happens to us in that stadium ?!

    I know some of you hate my long comments, I’m sorry, but there were a lot to talk about this week

    I’m missing many of our guys, I think some of them are busy with their final exams
    Good Luck

  • piserakos

    @ahmad.. Maybe i’m the one you miss 😛 I have to take care of my group at Greece of Greek Atleticos and we have a lot of job to do.. Also the job and the university let me with no time…
    I’m with Martin about Real staff! If we don’t win Malaga then we don’t deserve La Liga. Also we can take a draw at Camp Nou this year, even if Barca won’t let us. If they know that if they win us Real will win La Liga they will NEVER do that thing… But, if they know that if they win us they win La Liga, then sorry but it would be tooo difficult!
    About Toby… I know this statistic.. The reason is he is bad fortune 😛 Also we use him when we rotate…
    Koke is too bad the last week he should have been rested and Arda should have played… Anyway what Simeone told at the press make me thing he knew something 😉

  • Kris

    Racism. I can’t believe racism still exists in a world where one of the world leaders is Black in Barack Obama. It’s so shameful that people see someone who’s not their color as something lower than them, when the reality is that he’s making atleast three times the money any one of them are making. Just disgraceful.

    Ahmad, your comments are actually fun to read as you point out some great statistics about Atleti that authors in this website are not able to fit in their articles. Don’t stop man! Being knowledgeful and especially sharing the knowledge shows great character of you.

  • Kris

    Piserakos, you are right Koke is showing signs of fatigue these days but you can see he’s probably played every game for Atleti this season. That’s why we need to rotate a little bit more but now all players can rest for a week so we should be back fit as ever.

  • Jeronamo

    Ahmad it’s actually the third time, let’s not forget the marcelo incident. I’m black and I love atleti but those things make me sick.

    Koke needed to sit that game out and I said it at half time about his fatigue.

    Adrian (for all who support and still believe in him I’m sorry) needs to go. I’m thankful for what he’s added but we can find a better replacement for him, hitting the post from that situation just sums it up for me…. no wait his sub par peeformances summed it up for me a long time ago.

    On to the next one and cheers for one hell of an exciting la liga season this time around.

    Aupa Atleti!!!

  • Jeronamo

    The reason I didn’t comment after the game was because I was so riled up, I cursed my neighbour for looking around in disgust as I cursed at the tv. I don’t know if I’m one who was missed but I’m here now

  • AaX

    Not many people can react as Classy as Diop did! He speaks like a person of an Advance character.( I remember once an Everton Black player who immediately stop playing, went off field to the changing room and Quit the team out of Disgust and Essential Self Respect. I actually thought that was Very very cool and Self Respectful). Quite True, There was something on us in that stadium but overall personally I think the team’s fatigue finally shown. It actually may explain the whole cause of the game’s events since the team not only needed to be fit and strong mentally and physically but also Emotionally. Spirits is what we’d Always have.However since it’s Over NOW, We Could Get ReEnergize and ReFocus back to get back Sharper. PEACE

  • Colchonero in SF

    (Jeranamo)- I’d like to extend my genuine admiration for you as you don’t let a small group of racist fans deter you from the team that you love. Atleti historically have had important black players (Donato, Luis Perea, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink- well only for a season ).

    I am an Asian American and people tend to forget that Jeremy Lin (who I genuinely believe doesn’t get the respect he deserves by the media, and his own coach Kevin McHale) suffered racial abuse when he played college basketball at Harvard- in the IVY LEAGUE (what many consider the standard bearer and liberal elitism who often frown on their Southern neighbors and the rest of the world.

    Anyway… regarding the team and Adrian
    It’s easy to react negatively when we lose and point out glaring misses like Adrian’s shot off the post. Nonetheless, let’s not forget that it was Adrian’s CRUCIAL goal against Chelsea that fired us into the Champions league final.

    I agree- he needs to improve his finishing and consistency but you can not discredit what might’ve been one of most important goals of Atleti.

    Aupa Atleti and let’s all try and not forget that despite racism being alive today- we are now able to communicate freely from many parts of the world and enjoy ourselves as English speakers of club Atletico de Madrid- a team for the world. 🙂

  • Chewie

    In Russia fans threw a banana at Roberto Carlos. He cried like a big fat baby. The club was punished and there was a big scandal. If I remember correctly, they played the next match without spectators. You can’t let this thing happen anywhere. It’s just plain stupid.

    Exactly, guys, if we can’t beat Malaga, we don’t deserve the league. Period.

  • piserakos

    About rascism episodes… I didn’t comment it cause it is not the place… I’m Greek! Here we see that all the time, even from left-wing fans! And to tell the truth it is nothing for us… We kill one each other at everygame… So some monkey chants or a banana look funny to me… I’m not with them but i see them as a joke… I was watching the game against Levane with a lot of Greek Atletico and we all had the same idea. It’s a joke! The players should take it like that, like Diop did! Anyway… Frente are the most rascists at Spain…
    3rd time this year? Better say 103 time! At everygame you will hear someone call someone else ‘mono’ (monkey) or do monkey sound etc… Viva España, viva Grecia y todos las países!

  • Kris

    It might not be a big deal at where you live Piserakos, BUT racism just isn’t acceptable. What you commented it’s taken just as a joke, why is that joke only targeted to the Blacks. I’ll think of it as a joke when it happens to all races and not just a specific one. Disgraceful behavior that is, it pisses me off so much and no I’m not venting because I’m Black because I’m not Black. But the way Diop reacted was really clever it made those asshole racists feel stupid as shit. Hope those fans aren’t allowed at games anymore, gets me so mad, I swear.

  • Ratchet

    Racism has no place in football (or anywhere for that matter), it is honestly sad that it is still so common. Those fans who were racist are an absolute disgrace to the club, and I hope they know that.

  • Jeronamo

    I’m glad a lot of smart guys are on this site. But until the club or the spanish fa does something serious about it, it’ll continue.

  • Yon

    Keylor Navas to Atleti if we don’t get Courtois!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Welcome back Piserakos, Jeronamo and everybody who were not showing a lot lately
    but if you are having exams then I don’t want to see you here until to finish 😉

    Kris : Thank you very much for your nice words
    I really love numbers & statistics .. although I never liked math !

    Jeronamo : you are right, I forgot about Marcelo incident

    It will just keep happening as long as there are no serious punishments
    Russia and most of eastern Europe have the biggest numbers of racial abuse (sorry Chewie) but at least the authorities are doing their jobs like Chewie mentioned
    You can’t call a country racist because 1 or 2 or 10 fans in a sport stadium full of 50,000 people made a racist gesture
    But you can certainly call it a racist when the authorities do nothing about it
    Every community has its good people and bad people, but when the bad people are the authority (by democratic ways) then it is a bad community

    Let’s talk football now :
    again I will talk about Liverpool because they have a very similar story like ours
    they should be 1 point away from the title, or at least need a win against Newcastle at Anfield
    They should have beaten Chelsea, or get a draw in the worst cases, and we all saw how easy it is to do that against Chelsea these days, but Gerrard slipped and gave Demba Ba a goal, and it was not the slip actually, it was that stupid pass from Sakho
    and last night they drew with Crystal Palace after they were leading 3-0 until min 79
    I didn’t watch the game, I don’t know what happened, but come on, haven’t you seen Atleti, they kept 1-0 lead 4 times and 2-1 once in their last 10 La Liga games, and you fail to keep 3-0 lead !!
    But I did see Suarez crying, I don’t want to see any of our players crying .. it’s in our hands and we must get it by our hands because nobody will give us anything

    Liverpool now are waiting for one of Aston Villa or West Ham to beat Man City, and both games are in Etihad .. they can forget about it

    We should at least got a draw against Levante, if we did then a wain against Malaga would made us champions
    But a win against Malaga and a draw against Barca is not too much to ask from a team who want to win La Liga, from a team who want to win The Champions League

    You want a title .. you have to earn it
    You have a dream .. you have to protect it
    You can not panic .. you can not slip .. you can not press the self-destruct button

    Billy Edwards, one of the authors of this website is a big Liverpool fan
    I am very very sorry for you Bill .. for all the reds fans, the greatest fans in the worlds, after Atleti fans !

  • pantic#10

    I feel sorry for the Levante supporters (and president of course).
    In the last 9 matches they won 1 time, lost 5, tied 3 (+6 goals / -11 goals).
    But yesterday they played like there’s no tomorrow, thanx to the extra money (as stated by various newspapers).
    Quico Catalan (Levante president) didn’t pay them enough? and what about their supporters, don’t they feel fool of by the players?
    Why didn’t they put this effort in the previous matches? they could have reach an Europa League spot.

    We were unlucky (Filipe own goal, RG8 and Adrian shots) and Keylor Navas did a great save on Toby.
    I don’t think we were tired (maybe Koke), in the 2nd half we attacked like tigers until their 2nd goal.
    Undeserved loss.

    But don’t worry Levante players, next year, when you’ll need points to stay in primera division, and we have already reached our target, we’ll play like there’s no tomorrow as you did, but not because someone pay us, because we honor football. no hard feelings.

    and now….Aupa Pucela (Valladolid)! lol
    Cerezo said that he would like to give extra money to Valladolid players to defeat Real Madrid…but unfortunately we don’t have money lol. great answer.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I don’t like this : Simone has signed with Doyen Group

    http://www.doyensports.com/en/stars_simeone.html

    does that mean he is leaving .. sooner or later ?!
    cause what will Doyen get if he stayed at Atleti ?!

    fuck you Jorge Mendez

  • Chewie

    I say we start a Kickstarter campaign to gather the money for Valladolid. All we need is 10000 people willing to pay 100$. It’s not impossible, guys =)

  • Urban

    Teixeira Bros. will be officiating both our game and FCBs. Nothing good can come out of this, mark my words. Im not sure which one is which, but I only hope that our ref will not be the same that officiated our last Alemria game.

  • palc

    I dont want RM to lose, that will open up the possibility of Barca being able to win LL upon winning their two last games. Barca will def beat us at CN if they can win the league

  • EC

    Why will Barcelona def beat us? Considering they haven’t managed to beat us in 5 games this season. We are also on better form than them at the moment. Guys stop trying to depend on Barca throwing the last game away for us to win La liga.
    We want both our rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona to drop as many pts as possible simple as that.
    Also it’s been announced that Barcelona’s, Atletico’s and Real’s last two games of the season will all be played at the same time. So Barcelona will be able to win the title on the last day of the season regardless of Atletico and Real’s results unless Barca lose to elche

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    @Urban : ours is the older one, Jose Antonio, or Teixeira Vitienes II
    (yes, the older is number 2 while the younger, Fernando is number 1,
    but after what he did in Almeria it makes a perfect sense)
    it is impossible to give Fernando another game for Atleti this season, especially not the game before the last one

    but his brother was the one who whistled a foul for Costa while Cebolla was on his way to score the third goal in San Mames in La Liga and didn’t give him the advantage .. then he apologized after the game !
    and he also was the one who gave Juanfran an absurd yellow card against Malaga that could have prevented him from playing against Barca but Atleti appealed and the card was cancelled

    what a family !!

    but the good thing is that he refereed 3 games for us this season and all were wins,
    the one against Malaga and both games against Athletic

    about Real Madrid, looks like I am the only one who wants them to lose
    I’m not afraid of Barca, and I don’t want them to let us win,
    I don’t want our title -if we won it- to be remembered that way

    and more important than all of this:
    are you all a 100% sure that Atleti will beat Malaga and Barca will beat Elche ?!
    I am not

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    @EC : you posted your comment while I was writing mine
    I guess now we are two !

    and you have a great point, everybody is saying that Barca need real to lose or draw one of their next 2 games vs Valladolid & Cleta, but why did they forget about the
    third one ?!
    is it because it’s against Espanyol, Barca’s arch-rival ?!
    did they forget that Espanyol haven’t mathematically avoided relegation yet (despite having 41 points which in many previous seasons were enough)
    or did they forget that Espanyol have Atleti’s former coach Aguirre and former captain Simao who will try to beat Real to help Atleti ?!!
    (and Simao also played for Barca)

    if Real won their next two games and Barca beat Elche they will still start our game against them with a hope to win the title.
    #Fact !!

  • Ahmad Hossainy
  • Jeronamo

    Make that three… I can’t stand the thought of real winning anything it infuriates me.

    We just need to focus on malaga and only malaga but if we were to ever lose our chance then I would rather barca win the title.

    Also as Ahmad said, 4 points in our last two games is a very high possibility. Even if we have to fight like lions over the last piece of meat to get it

  • piserakos

    I’ll be quick.
    1) Vitienes bros on action 😉
    2) Bring Parejo at Atleti.. We were here the last summer and i was totally dissagree to bring him (rumors said that he had agreed with Atleti).. But now i changed my mind! He also told he want atleti to win La liga.
    3) We have to forget Courtois… So bring Navas.
    4) Rascism is not a joke! But the way it happens at stadiums it is… The same could be for any one… Black,white, yellow… Anyone! I don’t think that it is that big matter when it happens to whites or yellows… Anyway!
    5) Cerezo said he would give money to Elche players to win Barca… We want Barca to lose points, not Real! We want Barca with no chances to win La Liga at the last game

  • Yon

    English media reporting that Courtois has handed in a transfer request at Chelsea, to join………………………………..BARCELONA

    Seems a bit odd considering they have already got Ter Stegen!

    Also Malaga may have added incentive this weekend –

    Former Malaga star Isco is said to have a clause in his contract that entitles the Andalusian side to €1 million should Real Madrid win the Primera Division with the young attacker in their ranks.

  • EC

    I have also been impressed with Parejo this season, not sure how much he would cost though. In any case Parejo would not be my first choice to strengthen our midfield. I would like to see Rakitic in an Atletico shirt.
    Also i don’t beleive Courtois will have handed a transfer request in. You never know though, would be a tremendous signing for Barca if they got him unfortunately. I think he would rather stay with us if possible though he is very young and has about 20 years ahead of him. there is plenty time for him to move to Barcelona or a similar sized club in the future

  • Brad

    English media reporting whatever they fancy.

  • starvs

    I saw that Cholo was associated with Doyen earlier today on Twitter and my heart sunk. I am not sure that is new, but it is certainly news to me. Not sure what it means really, but certainly no upside to being affiliated with Jorge Mendes…

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    @Piserakos : Cerezo did NOT say he would give money to Elche
    he said the opposite, these are his exact words :

    “The maths are simple, what we have to do is to win the two games we have left.
    There are a lot of things that we don’t have money for, including maletines.
    First we would have to buy the briefcase and then put the money in it, but we are a team that does NOT do maletines”

    and let me clarify something about “maletines” :
    Levante, Malaga, Elche, Valladolid & Celta and any other team don’t have a “win-button” so they can press it when somebody give them money to beat one of La Liga top 3
    if they had such a button then they would have pressed it every week and one of them would have won the title !

    Levante did not beat us because the “maletines”
    They beat us because we scored a silly own goal and wasted a couple of easy chances
    They beat us because they are used to make big teams suffer at their stadium

    Maletines are just another Spanish bullshit, and Atleti don’t do bullshit, especially Simeone’s Atleti
    Want the title ?! .. Beat Malaga and draw with Barca .. just that simple

  • Urban

    Ahmad +1

    And with respect to Cholo signing for Doyen I am not that worried, I would get worried if he started taking English classes

  • Jeronamo

    Lol

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    so feel worried Urban, because Simeone is taking English lessons

    but I don’t think that means he is going to England
    everybody should learn English, the first language in the world, especially if you are a leader, a scientist or a celebrity in TV, cinema, music or sports
    Guardiola never played or coached in England and he speaks fluent English
    and last season Falcao was learning English then he went to Monaco

    I always criticized Messi for not learning English
    the best player in the world and maybe in the history of football and only speaks one language (Catalan doesn’t count), I thought that is a laziness and disrespect for his fans who I can say all of them speak English with different levels, but many of them don’t even know the Spanish alphabet

    but if I heard that Simeone is learning French or German then I will freak out !

  • starvs

    I def think Cholo should go to England; I would love to see him take up a new challenge in his seventies, maybe late sixties.

  • Chewie

    @Ahmad you’re wrong, Messi speaks three languages – Argentinian, Spanish and Catalan 🙂

  • Chewie

    If Cholo wins the league and the UCL with Atletico and the team plays well for another 2-3 seasons then he’ll probably stay with us until things go bad. Then he’ll coach Argentina.

  • Urban

    That prick Scolari will not take Filipe nor Miranda to the World Cup.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UHgI9qaJJGg/TdhIBxILr7I/AAAAAAAAUXg/lR64TlsZehU/s400/brazil2014facepalm.png

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I just love how rojiblancos are fighting their fears and worries about the future with jokes and laughter 🙂

    about Filipe & Miranda, Derek just added a post about that, go there and give Scolari what he deserves