Most of the build up to this match was focused on Filipe Luis, our star signing this summer who finally got to make his debut in the fifth match of the league season.
The Brazilian more than delivered on his first night as a rojiblanco! He set up the only goal of the game and was undoubtely the Man of the Match.
In the 16th minute Filipe was the first one to take a shot on goal, but his attempt went wide of the far post. Atlético had started off very well, puinning Zaragoza back, but created few opportunities.
A few minutes later we opened the scoring when Filipe picked up a loose ball in midfield, rushed past the covering defender and delivered the ball across goal on a platter to Diego Costa. The striker, who replaced the unfit Sergio Agüero, only had to tap it in from close range. It was Costa’s first goal in an Atlético shirt since joining the club in 2007.
When Reyes played a wonderful through ball to Diego Costa later in the first half, the Brazilian seemed close to his second goal, but he fired straight at Zaragoza substitute goalkeeper Antonio Doblas.
The goalkeeper had come on to replace Leo Franco within the first half hour. Franco, still popular in the Calderón, seems to have injured his hamstring. Another ex-Atlético player, Gabi, was wearing the captain’s armband for today’s opponents, while Florent Sinama-Pongolle came on at half time to give Zaragoza a boost going forward.
Atlético’s defence and midfield hadn’t been troubled at all in the first half. Assunção and Tiago did well to win the balls in midfield, and the visitors never even came close to David de Gea’s goal.
It took a dubious decision by referee Múñiz Fernández to shake things up.
In the 57th minute the referee judged that De Gea took a pass by Godín into his hands, although it seemed like the ball came off Ander Herrera’s foot. It led to much controversy and an indirect freekick just seven yards from goal in our own area.
Domínguez and De Gea were carded in the process, and while Marco Pérez blasted the ball into the ten Atlético players on the line, things proceeded to get even more out of hand a few minutes later.
Reyes chased a ball which he was never going to reach. As Contini saw the winger coming, he stepped right into his path, making Reyes clash into Contini from behind. Múñoz Fernández judged that Reyes had lashed out and showed the Spanish winger a straight red, leaving Atleti with ten men and half an hour to go.
However, even with a man down Atlético still created the better chances. A strong Godín header was saved off the line by Doblas, and Simão hit the side netting after he found himself completely free inside the box.
At the other end De Gea only had to save shots taken from far outside of the box, as our defence was excellent tonight. One of Zaragoza’s attacks almost led to a goal for Atleti on the counter when De Gea put Agüero through, but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
Kun had come on already booked, after protesting to the fourth official against Reyes’ sending off. It was one of the eight cards Atlético collected tonight. With his fourth card of the season Paulo Assunção is now one yellow card away from suspension after just five matches.
The Vicente Calderón had a scare when Diego Godín went down holding his knee in the 83rd minute. The Uruguayan centre-back was stretchered off, leaving us with nine men, but was able to come back onto the pitch a couple minutes later to finish this match and help Atlético protect their slender lead.
We’re still waiting to hear the latest update on Godín’s injury. Hopefully he won’t be seriously hurt, as he was most impressive again tonight.
The last chance was for Atleti in the 93rd minute, but Mario Suárez hit it wide.
The huge number of cards we collected will worry Quique Sánchez Flores, but he must also be satisfied with his team’s performance in defence today, as we never looked like conceding, even if Zaragoza were equally poor.
Line-up: De Gea; Perea, Godín, Domínguez, Filipe; Reyes, Tiago, Assunção, Simão; Forlán and Diego Costa
Subs: Mario Suárez (“63), Agüero (“75) and Valera (“82)
Goals: 1-0 Diego Costa