It took only four days to show the varying performances of Atleti this season. The nonchalant Tuesday night display against Real Sociedad and the nervy, smash and grab that ensued on Saturday.
Suffering is part of the job description as a colchonero and we were not spared against Malaga.
A bright start from Los Rojiblancos saw them take the lead, as Griezmann capitalised on a goalkeeping howler from Kameni.
Not quite the first five minutes, but the 25th minute opener made it look as though Atleti were about to extend their La Liga winning run to four on the trot – Malaga looked to buck that trend.
The Andalusian side not only equalised but went on to take the lead in the 71st minute through a Samu chip, and with time running out it seemed as though Atleti had dropped valuable points in their bid to stay third.
Antoine Griezmann had other ideas.
Our silver-streaked Frenchman blasted home from close quarters to put Atleti on level terms.
The goal itself sparked outrage among the Malaga back four – and everyone else associated to the club – who swore blind that Griezmann had been in a offside position when he received the ball but replays later disproved that claim.
The game ended a point apiece, which can’t be argued as both teams cancelled each other out. Attention now diverts to Tuesday night’s Champions League showdown with eternal rivals Real Madrid.
Post-game notes and quotes
“Once again, we responded well to a hard match” – Simeone
“In the first half, I think we could have hurt them much more than we did.” Diego Simeone admitting regrettably that his side didn’t turn the first half momentum into more goals.
“Málaga have very good players. They are a very competitive team. Amrabat, Juanmi, Castillejo… are good level players.” Cholo displaying his humble side as he praised the opposition and also highlighting how Malaga away is no picnic.
“It is an important point that allows us to stay ahead of our real rivals this season; Sevilla and Valencia.”
The point means Atleti will remain third no matter the result of the Valencia derby on Monday night.
“We wanted to win but it wasn’t to be” – Griezmann
“It was a tough match against a team that plays well and has a lot of intensity.” The Frenchman conceded.
“Now we rest with the Champions League in our minds and then back on to the League.”
“We have to try to win every game now and continue with the intensity we showed today.”
With Sevilla’s point against Barca, the battle for third is now well and truly on and there is no room for error.
That guy Grizi
Griezmann has been a revelation so far this season and his brace against Malaga took the Frenchmans tally to 21 goals in all competitions – equalling his best efforts from last season.
After spending the initial part of the season trying to get into Simeone’s good books, the youngster has made the supporting striker role his own and without his presence Atleti would have struggled to be as competitive as they’ve been this season.
From golazos to tap-ins, the goal scoring repertoire that Griezmann possesses has made his €30 million signing look an absolute steal.
Grizi inherited the number 7 shirt from Adrian and is now showing us why he is the ‘perfect number seven’.
- Oblak’s clean sheet record wasn’t kept in tact but that didn’t stop the cloud from pulling off some acrobatic saves to help his side hold on to a point.
- Gimenez took the place of Godin who watched on from the sidelines as he recovers from a Hamstring injury.
- Torres made a laboured start to the game with his own goal but almost got on the goal sheet himself and came close to making an assist but Koke’s header missed the mark.