La Liga: Atlético 1 – 0 Deportivo

Hard-working win overshadowed by injury as Augusto and Giménez limp off

Griezmann is the joint top scorer in La Liga with five goals

Griezmann is the joint top scorer in La Liga with five goals

Atlético Madrid were 1-0 winners against Deportivo La Coruña on Saturday afternoon, Antoine Griezmann’s second half winner the difference in a tough match at the Vicente Calderón.

The hosts defended well, but were left with a real uphill task when midfielder Fayçal Fajr was sent off just before half-time for a second bookable offence.

Cholo’s men move up to third, but the win was marred by a serious knee ligament injury sustained by Augusto Fernández in the first half which will most likely result in a long spell on the sidelines.

José María Giménez was also forced off with a thigh strain shortly after. He will be out for a shorter period, although both will undergo tests in the coming days to determine the severity of their injuries.

Depor came with the idea of frustrating Atleti – some would say playing them at their own game – and it worked for 45 minutes at least, Gaizka Garitano’s men defending well and causing problems with their physical style.

However, the game changed on the stroke of half-time when they were reduced to ten men, Fayçal Fajr given his marching orders for a late challenge on Nico Gaitán that left the referee with no choice but to give him a second yellow card.

The game turned into attack vs. defence in the second half as the home side chased the all important winning goal, but Depor stuck to their gunds and continued to defend well.

Goalkeeper Germán Lux was in inspire form and made a string of fine saves, pushing Yannick Carrasco’s long range drive onto the post before saving from the Belgian again and then Correa.

Having been forced into two early subs due to the injuries, Cholo sent on Kevin Gameiro and his impact was instant, the Frenchman giving us a focal point in attack and direct movement in the final third.

The goal finally came on 70 minutes, Gameiro making a clever run to latch onto Juanfran’s pass before squaring for compatriot Antoine Griezmann to tap home.

Griezmann had gone closest to scoring in the first half and had also seen two efforts correctly chalked off for offside, and allowed the Calderón to breathe a collective sigh of relief with his fifth goal of the season.

Atleti just about managed to see the game out, although the numerical disadvantage didn’t stop Depor from pushing for an equaliser and it needed a brave block from Godín to deny Emre Colak a shot on target.

Having made changes ahead of the midweek clash with Bayern Munich, Atlético were given a much more difficult game then they would’ve liked but crucially, got the three points they so craved.

It’s too early to say whether we’re in the title race or not, but the team has responded in the best way to our early season blip and are in a good position to move forward and make a push for the top two.

Player ratings

Jan Oblak – 6

Had little, but as usual when called upon he was on his marks. Quick with his distribution and safe with his hands.

Juanfran – 7

Another good performance, always in support and intelligent with his passing and crossing. Played a part in the goal with a well timed ball for Gameiro.

Diego Godín – 8 (Man of the match)

A warrior at the back. Made a match-winning block at the end and also pushed the team forward from defence, making sure Depor couldn’t do anything on the break.

Josema Giménez – N/A

After a few scuffles with Depor’s Andone, he went off injured in the first half. Looks to have damaged a muscle in his right hamstring, so will face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.

Filipe Luís – 7

Not quite as involved as he has been in recent weeks, although that’s probably more down to the high standards he has set himself. Had a couple of shots that went off target and made a few dangerous crosses.

Koke – 7

Kept things ticking in midfield, covering a lot of ground and spraying the ball around with confidence. Long passing was very good, definitely growing into the deeper role.

Augusto – N/A

Also had to go off early on, and sadly looks to have torn ligaments in his knee after overstretching in a challenge. Hopefully he’ll make a quick recovery, but a lengthy spell out looks likely. Ánimo!

Nico Gaitán – 7

Like against Sporting, he showed signs of his quality but was in and out of the game. Definitely looks like an Atlético player. Looked to play a lot of one-twos, but not all of them came off.

Yannick Carrasco – 6

Very unlucky to rattle the frame of the goal with a long range effort early in the second half. Surprised to see him go off when he did as he was starting to make an impact, having been fairly quiet up until then.

Antoine Griezmann – 7

Flourishing in the freer role that Cholo seems to have given to him. Did a lot of good things on the ball, and was still getting into the box as he did for the goal. Looking like a genuine world class player now.

Ángel Correa – 6

Makes such an impact as a substitute, but not quite as effective as a starter today. To give him his dues, he had some nice touches and worked hard, but needs to work on his decision making.


Gabi – 7

Had his rest cut short following Augusto’s injury, but came on to great effect to carry the midfield and inspire the win. Provided the base for the team to attack and tidied up in front of the defence.

Lucas Hernández – 7

Given that his was his first match of the season, he was excellent when he came on. Reading of the game is second to none, and he made a crucial goal line clearance to deny Depor the opening goal.

Kevin Gameiro – 7

Atleti looked a lot more threatening with him on the pitch. Always looking to run in behind and claims another assist with an intelligent cut back. For us, he should be starting as much as possible.

Do you agree with our ratings? What did you make of the performance?

  • SherbetDip

    Should have brought on Torres … Correa seems to link well with him.

  • AndersAT

    Well. Gameiro made the assist, so not the worst call.

    We really seem to be running out of CMs. What a change.

  • Max Huber

    Atleti was lucky this time , because Gameiro was offside, so the goal was invalid!

  • Koke

    Gameiro was onside.

  • Koke

    Augusto’s injury is a big blow, but I think that if everyone else manages to stay healthy we will end up fine. I think that this will mean that Koke and Saul will play deeper more regularly and Gaitan, Carrasco, Correa, and even Griezmann take their former places as CAMs or wide attacking mids. Which will in turn help to usher in a new style of attacking football.

    Plus, hopefully Thomas gets a lot more chances now. For some reason everyone seems to love Oliver and Correa (I do too!) but not many people have ever called for Thomas to get more minutes. I think he is very talented and can make a great impact on this team if he gets more chances.

    Get better soon Augusto!

  • AndersAT

    The reports say 6 months out. That is not good. But you are right we will see a lot of Koke and Saul in the center. But against Bayern we will probably play with both Koke, Saul and Gabi with only Thomas as a sub. I don’t think he is at the same level as Augusto or Tiago, but let’s hope he can play some good matches, because he will probably get some playing time the next couple of months.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    From the previous comments it seems that some people forgot that we have a world-class CM called Tiago !

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Gameiro was onside, Godin was onside in his chance in first half, Filipe was onside against Gijon .

    I’m really starting to believe that Spanish refs don’t have poor judgment or lack of concentration, but they don’t fully understand the offside role .

  • Max Huber

    I watched again – O.K. he was onside!

  • nandes

    The problem with Thomas is that neither he or Simeone seem to know his main position. His passing is awful for a CM and he has great energy/speed to be a winger but his decision making is also kinda poor… He’s talented ofc but needs to evolve a lot

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I think we should never play without a number nine again, Correa is not a number nine, Grizi is not a number nine, we became more dangerous when Gameiro came on, and he made the assist just after 10 minutes .

    Even Carrasco’s biggest fans have talked about his bad final product, but today I want to talk about another thing : he is not so good when there is no big spaces, Gaitan is, Correa is and Gameiro is, and that’s another reason why the latter should’ve started, the 11 we finished the game with is the line-up I asked for before the game, except Filipe who I wanted to give him some rest .

    We obviously need to improve at the last third of the pitch, especially when there is no much spaces and we are playing against a tight defense, and the way to do that is by training, we have the quality in Gaitan, Correa, Grizi, Filipe & Gameiro to break down any defense, but they need a lot of training .
    We are not a counter attacking side anymore, unless we play against Barca or Bayern, and maybe Man City, and it’s not a choice, it’s a new reality that was forced on us, right now most of the teams in Spain and Europe choose to defend against us and give us the ball, so we need to deal with that new reality .

    Animo Augusto .

  • Paweł Kosiński

    …who is injured as it stands.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    But a minor injury, he will be back soon, and when he does I prefer him over Saul and Thomas in the center, at least in big games, he should rotate with Gabi, while Koke should be the other CM .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Thomas also lacks skills to be a winger, of course he is skillful, but I don’t think he is that skillful .

    Once I used the phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” to describe Saul, and I think it’s even more true about Thomas .
    It’s good to be able to play in several positions, but you must at least master one of them .
    Raul Garcia was like that, then he mastered the second striker position, 17 goals in 2013/14 were huge, David Villa, all-time top scorer of Spanish National Team scored 15, one of them from penalty, Raul also scored 11 goals with Athletic last season despite that he was out for couple of months for a knee injury .

    And some people are calling Saul “The New Raul” because he scored 9 goals last season, didn’t even reach a double figure !!

    Simeone & Thomas need to figure out his best position soon, or he wouldn’t have a great career despite his big talent .

  • Usavicente Calderon

    The finishing 11 look dynamic. They pressed and were constantly aggressive. I will defend Corrasco by saying that his shot that hit the woodwork was unlucky. Give him that same strike against 10 other goals and 80% of the time it will go in. But I really enjoyed that 2nd half and think that we are going to do well this season.

  • Usavicente Calderon

    I see you confess that it was onside, but didn’t the channel you watched it on show that he was? And he was. Depor is lucky this game didn’t end 3 – 0. Depor was the lucky team that didn’t get crushed today. Plus, we are Atleti, and we are fine with 1 – 0 scores.

  • Karlp

    Griezmann looks tired

  • Kris

    Lucas is really really really good. Consider his age and even lack of playing time, every time he plays, he’s out there to prove that he deserves to start. Really tough man-management for Simeone when you have three equally-good CBs to choose to partner the world-class Godin. Difficult job to keep all these players happy and give them sufficient playing time.

  • Maura

    Kris, I agree with you about Lucas. He really plays beyond his years. Lucas is also versatile because he can play LB if needed (if I recall correctly, he did a good job filling in for Filipe Luis when Filipe was out on cards in one game last season). Jan Oblak owes Lucas a beer, or a glass of sangria, for his great save yesterday. It is a pity that he does not get more playing time because he is so good. But he is competing with two other incredible CBs for a place in the lineup.

  • Paweł Kosiński

    Let’s see… At the beginning of last season Saúl was 20 and not until December he became a regular, six times in league play alone not even getting off the bench for a minute. Once he estabilished himself, that’s a different story. Is 8 goals in 36 apps from December on really that bad for a guy playing exclusively in midfield? (once at center-back too!)

    Is Saúl “the new Raúl”? Of course not – the latter more often that not played off the main striker and therefore had much more opportunities to score for that matter.

  • Paweł Kosiński

    Regarding Thomas – Simeone really has a hard nut to crack. The Ghanian isn’t fast enough and doesn’t have a bag of tricks to be played as a winger. Doesn’t have finishing skills to be played as a split striker. Doesn’t offer a range of passing to be played as a central midfielder and for a defensive midfielder doesn’t have good positioning skills and his tackling is rash sometimes.

    I’d say that if Thomas doesn’t get chances now that both Augusto and Tiago are on the sidelines, his career at Atleti might be finished.

  • Alfred Rodriguez

    I think what this game tells us is it’s a strong factor who you start, but it is essential you have a weapon that comes off the bench in case the game is still tied in the second half. Gamiero added something when he came on just like Correa adds something when he comes off the bench. It’s like Atleti is constantly in a boxing match against the smaller teams, and they just keep punching away at the body and you see the damage in the later rounds. I want the knock out sooner but atleast they keep dominating the possession and opportunities early. I think this offense is going to be okay.