Atlético Madrid fell to a disappointing draw on the opening day against Alavés, as a last minute stunner from Manu García handed a point to the visitors in the Vicente Calderón.
The hosts had only gone in front minutes before, debutant Kevin Gameiro scoring from the penalty spot after Víctor Laguardia was controversially adjudged to have fouled Fernando Torres.
It had been looking like one of those nights for Cholo Simeone’s men, who tried everything they could but were unable to break down a stern Alavés defence on their return to the Spanish top flight.
After 27 shots – two of which came back off the woodwork – and 20 corners went to waste, it looked as if the hosts would have to settle for a goalless draw before referee Iglesias Villanueva pointed to the spot in injury time.
Having not had any luck all night, Atleti thought they had gotten out of jail despite replays showing that Laguardia’s tug on Torres had probably taken place just outside the box, and that the veteran striker looked to take the ball down on his hand.
Gameiro stepped up and found the net to grab a crucial debut goal from the spot, but the celebrations were to be shortlived as just two minutes later, Manu García rifled home the equaliser with Alavés’ first shot on target.
The visitors will feel that justice was served given the harsh decision that had just gone against them, and it was probably deserved given how well they had defended over 90 minutes.
Atleti on the other hand were left to rue their luck, switching off having worked so hard to get the goal and ultimately losing what could be a valuable two points on the opening day.
Next up is a local derby with Leganés in the Butarque next week, which will be the home side’s first ever match in La Liga. Thankfully, Antoine Griezmann is expected to return.
Jan Oblak – 5
Didn’t have a save to make, other than the goal which he could do nothing about.
Juanfran – 6
Got forward to good effect and put in some good crosses, many of which weren’t attacked by those inside the box.
Diego Godín – 6
Lead the defence and provided an aerial threat in the Alavés area, but will be as disappointed as anybody to lose his clean sheet in such frustrating circumstances late on.
Stefan Savic – 6
Looked fairly solid up until the equaliser. Perhaps guilty of switching off given how little Alavés had attacked up until then.
Filipe Luís – 7
Like Juanfran he got forward continuously and put in some excellent crosses. Would like to see him take the ball on his right foot more often when necessary.
Gabi – 6
Sacrificed as we chased the goal, and his presence was perhaps missed as we looked (and failed) to see out the result.
Tiago – 6
Looked no less influential and mobile as before his horrific leg break last year, but perhaps not the right choice for a game like this. Still, great to see him back.
Koke – 6
Was involved throughout but wasn’t quite with it with some of his final balls and deliveries. Look forward to seeing him play deeper this season.
Saúl Ñíguez – 7 (Man of the match)
Covered every blade in midfield and did everything he could to try and get us over the line. Feel this could be the season he becomes one of the leaders in the team.
Yannick Carrasco – 7
One of our more positive players, particularly in the first half. Always looking to get the ball and never shies away, was unlucky to hit the post just before half-time.
Kevin Gameiro – 6
Missed a couple of golden chances, but showed good nerve to step up and score the penalty. Promising early signs.
Fernando Torres – 6
Looked sharp and hungry. Very unlucky to hit the post and got himself into the right position to win the penalty. Could play more than people think this year.
Nico Gaitán – 6
Very interesting option, looks like he’ll provide creativity and threat between the lines we didn’t have last season. Needs to change his boots though, slipped over a few times.
Ángel Correa – 7
Despite being with Argentine throughout pre-season, he was straight back into the rhythm and did brilliantly when he had the ball. Deserves more minutes than he had last year.
What did you make of the result and performance? Should we be worried at all?