Player ratings: Atleti stun Barça to reach semi-finals

We evaluate the players after an unforgettable performance in the Calderón

Griezmann one of eleven men of the match for Atleti

Griezmann one of eleven men of the match for Atleti

Atlético Madrid booked their place in the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday evening, turning the tie on it’s head with a heroic 2-0 win against holders Barcelona.

Two goals from Antoine Griezmann were the difference, but it was a monumental performance from the whole team on a night that will live long in the memory at the Vicente Calderón.

Read on to see how we rated the players:

Jan Oblak – 8

He may not have made any spectacular saves, but that was because he caught and held everything that came at him. His calmness and authority took the pressure off on a number of occasions. A wall in the Atleti goal.

Juanfran – 8

Our very own ‘Lightning McQueen’ was up and down the right flank as always, helping us attack before we got the goal and pocketing Neymar for most of the night. Arguably the best in the world in his position.

Diego Godín – 9 (Man of the match)

A titan, a warrior, a colossus at the back as usual. Every cross, shot and ball into the box seemed to gravitate towards him, and every time he got it away. With him in the team, anything is possible.

Lucas Hernández – 8

The boy became a man tonight. Alongside Godín, he stood up to Messi, Suárez and Neymar and didn’t let them pass. For one so young, his reading of the game and positioning is exceptional. Great performance.

Filipe Luís – 8

Made one or two small lapses at the back, but it was a near flawless performance from the Brazilian. Did superbly well to get forward in the last minute and find that bit extra to win the penalty, and helped us see out the game.

Gabi – 8

Our captain is well and truly back. This was the Gabi of 2013/14, patrolling and marshalling the midfield and using his vast experience to limit Barça’s play between the lines. Embodies the spirit in this team.

Augusto Fernández – 8

May not get the plaudits that some others do, but he was hugely effective in front of the defence and won tackle after tackle in crucial areas. Some fans had their doubts over him, but not after tonight. Tiago-esque.

Koke – 8

Like in the quarter-final two years ago, the canterano was everywhere. He was the link-man between attack and defence, using the ball well and doing a great job of stopping Barça in the wide areas. Astonishing to think that he is just 24.

Saúl Ñíguez – 8

We’ve known it all season, but this may well have been the night that the rest of Europe stood up and took notice of Saúl. His ball for the opener was sumptuous, and his work-rate and ball retention was even better. Such a complete midfielder, and will only get better.

Yannick Carrasco – 8

The road-runner, and a player that Barça will be glad to see the back of this season. Combines incredible pace and trickery with a calm head and impressive tactical nous, and the never-say-die attitude that Simeone loves. Signing of the season.

Antoine Griezmann – 9

What more can we say about Griezmann? His transformation from tricky winger to all-action killer in attack has been breathtaking. Some criticised him for not performing in the big games, he shut them down completely tonight. Will go down in Atleti history with his two goals.


Thomas Partey – 7

Minutes have been hard to come by for Thomas this season, but he looks to have earned Cholo’s trust through hard work and sacrifice. Helped us see out the game with a number of important clearances and interceptions.

Ángel Correa – N/A

Stefan Savic – N/A

Do you agree with our ratings? Are we being a little harsh on the team with our ratings?

  • Kris

    Oh how much I love Atleti!!!!! Stunning atmosphere at the Calderon. WOW. This is why they play and we support. Griezmann doubters, piss off. He showed again that he can score against anybody and is such a great tactical player. Atleti showed again that they can beat anybody. I was about to comment that we can win the UCL, but ‘partido a partido’, and however much I criticize Simeone, in Cholo, I DO trust. But, please I hope this was the last of the midfield quartet of CMs, because Torres has been in hot form, and Carrasco is back playing better every game. Whatever. Tonight, I celebrate. AUPA ATLETI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kris

    Also, I must commend Lucas Hernandez for stepping up to the occasion in 6 or 7 games already this season. He is solid. He doesn’t like mistakes, and plays safe. Wins every header, and beautiful tackling as well. What other team can say they have FOUR WORLD CLASS center backs?

    Angel Correa also did well in his short cameo, pressuring tackling, holding the ball and passing to Koke. He is only going to get better. Next season should be his breakout season.

  • Nick Lawley

    I think Gabi was MOTM. Absolutely magisterial!

  • Abdil Egriøz

    I agree, loved his perfomance tonight. He made very crucial tackles and one more crucial than the others to hold us in the tie. He truly played like a captain and that’s how we like to see him play.

  • Absolutely amazing night! I can’t believe we did it!

  • Koke

    Big LOL @ everyone who labels Atleti as dirty or violent. Barca should have seen about 5 red cards over 2 legs (Suarez x3, Neymar, Iniesta). A nice guy like Torres can get sent off for two innocent albeit stupid fouls, but Suarez can kick, punch, slap, and elbow to his heart’s content, Neymar can punch and kick a player who has his back turned and is moving away, and Iniesta can make a brilliant goalie save in his own box as the last man to deny Griezmann an easy finish, NO RED. Ah well. It’s all in the past now, and Atleti aren’t ones to complain about referees. We’re the underdogs, the David that always triumphs over Goliath.

    I should feel more giddy than I do, but I’m actually pretty calm now. Why? I expected us to win. I think we all did. We’ve been among the top 5-6 clubs in the world for a while now, but finally I think even the last doubters will realize this. Honestly, I don’t see why we can’t consider ourselves one of the favorites to win the CL now. I don’t want to get too arrogant, but I think it’s safe to say that we could teach Man City a lesson, and as for Real Madrid, we’ve had them in our pockets for about a year and a half now. Bayern is definitely the team to avoid before the final, but even against them we will put up a great fight.

    Whereas last season’s knock out against Madrid demonstrated the things bad about Atleti (too defensive, no attacking threat, red card, overly cautious tactics), this year’s triumph was a perfect portrait of everything good about Atleti: courage, teamwork, humility, one of the best fanbases in Europe, effective counterattacking football, legendary defensive work, excellent tactics and the perfect blend of brain and brawn. Onwards and upwards from here. Despite all of the things Simeone may have done before to worry us, he has gotten his tactics PERFECT for this game, and I’m so proud to say that we were by far the better attacking team against Barcelona. Let’s go partido a partido for the rest of the season and see if we might just snatch a trophy or two against the odds! (or is it?)

  • nandes

    A few weeks ago, I really thought our season was done. I think most people did, as seen by the loads of articles written about striker possibilities for next season and the like. And now here we are, fighting until the end in both competitions

    We were problably lucky to face Barça at their worst, but this is still a massive achievement

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    We didn’t doubt Grizi, we simply asked him to score in big games (beside the hard work he always does against both big and small teams) .. and he did .

    As I said, for Simeone this season, it’s not about game plane, but about the available players, the players he trusts, and he doesn’t trust Vietto or Correa enough to replace Torres, so he replaced him with Augusto .
    I disagree with him about Correa, but he is probably right about Vietto (and I’m tired of talking about Oliver), but anyway : it’s his responsibility, he’s the one who chose those players .
    That’s one of Cholo’s weak sides, he needs to have a better vision in transfers and in building his squad .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I was too worried that PSV will knock us out, even before the first leg, and they came very close from doing it .
    But I was very sure that we will come back against Barca, as I said in one comment :
    “When Torres comes back in the semis he will have zero yellow cards” .
    “When” not “If” .. because those are Cholo’s games, those are his nights .

    And that’s why the team I fear the most among the three in the semifinal draw is the weakest : Man City, I prefer Bayern or Real Madrid .
    We still have a problem against small teams .
    Yes Man City, you are a small team .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Finally ! another one besides me who appreciates Gabi .
    Where have you been all that time man ?!
    Gabi was my MOTM in the first leg, and he also is tonight .

    Atleti fans are real football fans, not some glory hunters or “mainstreamers”, so I really find it strange that Gabi does’t get appreciated enough from many of them .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I don’t want to talk about the ref, but for those who want to talk about him :
    Don’t just talk about not showing the red to Iniesta, Neymar & Suarez and forget the clear penalty for Carrasco against Pique .
    It wasn’t a handball, but he clearly tackled him, he intentionally hit Carrasco’s knees with his head, a very smart guy, unlike Rizzoli, who wasn’t smart nor brave .

    This is like the first leg when everybody kept talking about Suarez and totally forget about Busquets who didn’t get a deserved yellow for a foul against Grizi just few minutes after Torres red card, before receiving a yellow in the second half .

    And since I mentioned the refereeing :
    I think what Brych did in the first leg gave us an extra motive and made us (all of us) more determined, so thank you .

  • Usavicente Calderon

    YOU WERE THERE!!! You lucky bastard! (And I mean that with the greatest affection.)

  • Usavicente Calderon

    With Lucas on board, between Savic, Gimenez and Godin. You can cycle they around and keep them fresh. I would have to say that either Gimenez or Godin must be on the field. These four world class players along with Oblak will allow us to keep the title,”Lords of defense.”

  • Usavicente Calderon

    The calls still weren’t even, and adding 6 minutes to the game wasn’t fair either, but we won, so all is forgotten.

  • Usavicente Calderon

    Don’t worry, the ping pong drawing is a scam, Just know that Real and Bayern will not play each other in the semi-finals. The powers at be want those two, to be the final. But neither Man City or Bayern understand or are ready for our defense. So I would prefer to pay either of them over Real.

  • Usavicente Calderon

    To all the commentators and analysts that had already wrote us off. I only have one thing to say.”Ha ha!” (think of Nelson’s ha ha from the Simpsons.)

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Our defense will have no problem against Man City, because they will not attack too much, I didn’t watch their 2nd leg against PSG, but I did watch the first leg, and they parked the bus, despite the quarter billion (with a B) they spent on players this season alone .
    If they parked the bus against us we definitely will have a big problem .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I don’t remember who commented here few months ago that we should have signed a 4th CB, and I told him that it’s very difficult, because even the third is having few minutes, where can we find a decent CB who accepts to sit on the bench until someone gets injured or suspended ?! .. the best option for a 4th CB is a promising kid from the reserve, just like the 3rd GK .

    Well, now we do have 4 world-class CBs as you said .
    Lucas deserves a call up from Deschamps to the EURO, they have Koscielny & Varane (who is overrated), I don’t know about Mangala, I didn’t watch a lot of Man City this season, but I watch almost all Liverpool games, and Lucas is absolutely better than Sakho .. waaay better .
    If Lucas got that call, then that’s the definition of “world-class” .

    And those 4 world-class CBs could be a problem for us next season .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Yeah, that too .
    6 minutes for injury time was absolutely outrageous .
    5 against RM in the final and 6 tonight, how much will they add if we played against Rummenigge’s Bayern ?!

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    Gabi was my man of the match. Just let me say that today’s performance really mirrored that 13/14 season

  • Haha it was awesome! Difference in atmosphere compared to the home fans at the Camp Nou last week was incredible

  • Karlp

    Maybe we can manage this surplus of CB (when Gimenez & Savic fully fit) and lack of LB back-up by playing Lucas sometimes as a LB. I remember he sometimes plays there. Not sure whether it’s a good idea, but can be a consideration.

  • Karlp

    Congrats to Atleti, and by the way my MOTM is also Gabi.

    Some notes on the players:
    Oblak – sky is your limit

    Lucas – he does exactly what Gimenez did in his 1st year, which is safety first and makes no mistake. I believe both of them will add more to their game (passing, dribbling) as their basic defending skills are more stable.

    Carrasco – have good pace but can improve the dribbling more. Sometimes the ball got tangled up in his feet which prevent his run. I just realize Cuadrado is a very similar type of winger but on the other flank, which makes all this Cuadrado to Atleti rumour make sense. Though I’m still not sure whether Cuadrado is the correct player for the current Atleti.

    Augusto – 1 of Atleti best buy ever. Low price, adapt very quickly, hardly make any mistake. Hope he can always sustain his fitness.

  • Karlp

    OOT, as we most certain will buy a RW, who do you guys think is a possible RW target? And who do you prefer?

    I think Cuadrado, Yarmolenko, Salah, Mahrez (maybe), Pedro (maybe) is possible. I myself want Coman but I know it’s impossible. Out of the list, I prefer Salah, but I think Cuadrado is preferable by Simeone because he speaks Spanish.

    I also still think we can play with Griezmann as RW. I’m not sure whether he will be as effective as right now if he become the focal point the whole time

  • Randy Ved Jawahir

    The entire team was phenomenal. I have doubted cholo in the past but not today. Fisting Barcelona in their asshole feels absolutely amazing. Now on to Granada. Also I think Valencia can take some more points off of barca at home this weekend, but we’ll wait and see. Also I would like man city in the semis so we can play against Aguero. Wonder what the reception at the Calderon would be like for him? Hmm. Also if we do make it to the finals, I want revenge vs Bayern. Anyway enough ole talk. #partidoApartido AupaAtleti! ❤️