Before the match we were talking about Diego Forlán’s amazing goalscoring record against Athletic and today he again proved to feel right at home in San Mamés.
Our win today takes us back on top of la Liga, but an injury midway through the second half to Sergio Agüero put a dampener on the evening.
Athletic are known as a physical side and from the first moment on the home team got stuck in, hoofed the ball up field and rushed after it. This led to a fierce shot by Fernando Llorente early on.
Our players weren’t afraid to show their teeth however, and constant duels between Llorente and Diego Godín made for a great show.
After just eleven minutes, Atleti opened the scoring when Kun Agüero skipped past two defenders. His low cross reached Simão, who managed to backheel the ball to the in-form Diego Forlán. The Uruguayan didn’t hesitate and scored his 12th goal against Athletic in just 13 matches.
The pace of the game was incredibly fast, but not too many opportunities were created in the first half. Spanish international Llorente seemed through on goal, but Domínguez and Perea were back in time to stop him. And just before half time Gabilondo had a good opportunity on the edge of he box, but his weaker right foot let him down.
The first half was entertaining, but in the second half both teams really let loose. Llorente fired at goal with his left and Agüero did the same from long range both within two minutes after the break.
In the 52nd minute it seemed the match would be decided, when Agüero was brought down from behind just inside the box. The referee however decided to give a free kick outside of the area and let Gurpegui off with just a yellow card.
Undiano Mallenco, the man in charge, made mostly good calls tonight, but seemed entirely wrong on this decision. Both Gurpegui and Agüero couldn’t continue after the clash and had to be subbed off. Kun left the field visibly upset on a stretcher.
The first reports indicate Agüero will be sidelined for at least two weeks, which means he’ll miss our matches against Barcelona and Valencia.
The second half saw many opportunities for both sides, with Athletic looking to get the ball to their quick wingers De Marcos and Muniain.
As Athletic were forced to attack, Atlético looked to break quickly on the counter. This almost led to a goal for Raúl García, but he volleyed just wide after a cross by Forlán. Five minutes later two substitutes were brought on and decided this game.
Diego Costa, who had come on for Agüero, carried the ball forward on a counter attack and found Simão inside the box. Simão’s shot was stopped, but fell for Tiago, Reyes’ substitute, who headed in the 2-0.
Our defence had looked very solid all night, with De Gea hardly troubled, but in the 88th minute we gave away an easy goal. Tiago couldn’t keep up with De Marcos and the youngster delivered an inch perfect cross to Llorente, who only had to tap it in.
With just one goal between the sides we headed to a thrilling finale, in which Llorente and centre-back Amorebieta got opportunities to equalise. They fired wide though, and Atlético took all three points.
Line-up: De Gea; Perea, Godín, Domínguez, López; Reyes, Raúl García, Assunção, Simão; Agüero and Forlán.
Subs: Diego Costa (“59), Tiago (“77), Mario Suárez (“82)
Goals: 0-1 Forlán; 0-2 Tiago; 1-2 Llorente.
Our next match is the Europa League match against Aris Saloniki on Thursday.