The Rojiblanco Recap: Atleti suffer their way to second

An early Koke strike was enough to see off Real Betis

Koke scores early for Atlético on Sunday evening

Koke scores early for Atlético on Sunday evening

Atleti went straight for their hosts’ throat on Sunday evening, and the early goal against Real Betis was the result of their incessant pressure from kick off.

As the ball fell perfectly for Koke, the young Spaniard claimed his second goal of the season and Atleti fans collectively rubbed their hands together as it looked sure to be a high scoring game, something this team is more than capable of but hasn’t consistently done. Yet, this was not to be.

The performance that followed the goal has been an unwelcome characteristic of this season as Atleti went from complete domination to holding on to a slender lead – but at least there is a strong consistency with making the fans suffer!

There wasn’t a lack of trying though as Griezmann could easily ended the night with a hat-trick and Oliver Torres should really have found the back of the net but all in all Atleti currently sit in second place, four points behind Barca, and have the chance to qualify for the next round of the Champions League on Wednesday.

Post-game notes and quotes

Diego Simeone – “The boys played very well.”

“The team managed to start the match playing deep, decisive and with good pressure which immediately created scoring opportunities.”

“In the second half, the team created some goal scoring situations but also kept up the good pressure. The most important thing is that we continue gel and grow as a team.”

“This team is still in a state of building and renewing with new faces coming in. The most important thing is to know how this team plays and the expectations are and with that in mind we will continue to grow.”

“Today’s match was very good in every way and we as a group are happy with it.”

Koke – “It was a well rounded performance that just lacked more goals.”

“Our goal is to be third. We finish in second place this weekend but we also keep both our feet on the ground. We know that Barca and Real are one step above but bit by bit we are getting there.”

“I came from an injury and little by little I’m finding myself in my best shape. Today I have been able to help the team with a goal, with good work and I hope to continue playing well,” – See more at: http://en.clubatleticodemadrid.com/noticias/koke-its-been-a-very-rounded-match#sthash.Yn3Tj9MD.dpuf

“I’ve come back from injury and little by little I am finding myself in my best shape. Today I have been able to help the team with a goal and hard work, hopefully I can keep this up!”

Jesus Gamez – “The team made a fantastic physical effort and we’ve had chances. We only managed to score one goal but it could easily have been more.”

Filipe Luis – “The team is on the right path and we improve more after each match.”

“We’re making great strides and I have no doubt that we will only get better.”

Goal drought for Grizi

Our French ace has had a dry spell in front of goal in recent weeks and this continued against Betis on Sunday night.

Grizi was incredibly unlucky not to score last night as he saw his shot go wide, canon off the post and also not to be awarded a penalty.

The Frenchman didn’t get many minutes this time last year but that was due to not being a mainstay in the starting eleven and that is no longer an excuse.

Maybe the pressure of being Atleti’s key man is taking it’s toll, maybe it’s the lack of a concrete striking partner, we are left to speculate but one thing is for certain – Grizi is simply world class and will be back in the goals sooner rather than later.

The final thoughts

  • Fernando Torres had a fantastic game and was unlucky not to score himself. His shot helped set up Koke for the winner and rolled back the years with some of his running down the channels. Simeone will be looking for that kind of performance against Gala midweek.
  • Savic partnered Godin at the back and although a few minor hiccups had a solid game. His understanding with Godin and the rest of the back four is commendable considering the short amount of time he has spent with the club. Atleti have managed four clean sheets with him at the back and is now a genuine competitor with Gimenez for that sought after centre back spot.
  • Oblak wasn’t troubled too much but pulled off a spectacular stop in the second half. His presence in goal has grown immensely and the young Slovene is looking every bit his price tag now.