After two successive La Liga defeats, Atlético Madrid put their bad run of form behind them on Sunday afternoon with a much needed 3-0 win away at struggling Osasuna.
Goals from Diego Godín, Kevin Gameiro and Yannick Carrasco sealed the three points, after Jan Oblak denied the home side from the spot early on with an excellent save from Roberto Torres.
Wednesday’s win over PSV in the Champions League helped repair some of the damage from last week’s derby loss, but three points at El Sadar were even more important after Simeone insisted that La Liga was his priority.
Atleti started brightly, and fashioned the first opportunity of the match when Antoine Griezmann picked defender Tano’s pocket and squared for compatriot Gameiro, who side-footed wide from close range.
The balance soon shifted though, and Osasuna were awarded a penalty on 14 minutes when José Giménez was adjudged to have fouled Oriol Riera inside the box.
It was the third penalty that the young Uruguayan has conceded in six starts, but like on the previous two occasions he had Jan Oblak to thank, the Slovenian diving to his left to save from Roberto Torres.
That set the tone for the rest of a half which Atleti went on to dominate, and they should’ve taken the lead just past the half hour when Ángel Correa was denied by Osasuna ‘keeper Nauzet.
A surprising inclusion ahead of Yannick Carrasco out wide, Correa was played in 1-on-1 by Antoine Griezmann but couldn’t finish despite having time and space to pick his spot.
Thankfully, his blushes were spared shortly after when Diego Godín gave the visitors a deserved lead, rising highest to head Koke’s corner (yes, a set piece) into the net from inside the six yard box.
Less than two minutes later it was 2-0, as Correa and Kevin Gameiro atoned for their earlier misses with some lovely link-up play, the Frenchman running onto the youngster’s lofted pass to finish emphatically for 2-0.
Despite the home crowd’s efforts, their team struggled to respond and failed to match the intensity that manager Joaquín Caparros had asked for on his home debut, allowing the visitors to take control.
They should’ve been given the chance to make it 3-0 in the second half when Osasuna defender Oier clearly handballed Tiago’s effort on the line, but referee Mateu Lahoz waved play on.
It didn’t turn out to be an important decision, but was frustrating given how little luck we have had with decisions lately (four penalties conceded and two red cards in seven games)
When the home side finally started applying some sustained pressure late on, Atleti were able to hit on the counter attack and Yannick Carrasco took advantage to score a third late on.
The Belgian – who looked set on proving a point after coming on from the bench – picked the pocket of defender Unai García, before confidently running through to fire home his 8th goal of the season.
Three points and a second clean sheet in a row will lift spirits in the rojiblanco camp after their blip either side of the international break, as Simeone’s choice to go back to basics pays dividends.
Next up, our Copa del Rey campaign starts against Guijuelo in Salamanca, before a home clash with Espanyol next Saturday evening.
Jan Oblak – 7
Had it not been for his early penalty save we could’ve seen a much different match. Now has a 50% save record in normal time, and was solid throughout despite not really being called into action again.
Juanfran – 7
Excellent performance against his old club. Has had his doubters recently, but was unflappable in defence and got forward to good effect throughout the match. Glad to see him back to his best.
Diego Godín – 8 (Man of the match)
Scored the opening goal and kept his cool to help guide the team to a clean sheet after Giménez’s early error. Osasuna put a lot of high balls into the box and provided a physical threat, but he was more than up to the challenge.
Josema Giménez – 5
You really have to wonder where the confident, composed teenager who stepped into the team and displaced Miranda has gone. Again, guilty not just of giving away a silly penalty but was also guilty of losing concentration and mistiming challenges on a few occasions.
Lucas Hernández – 6
Although not particularly potent in attack, he helped keep the balance of the team in Filipe’s absence and did his job defensively. Wouldn’t mind seeing him get a run alongside Godín in the centre…
Gabi – 7
Looks so much more assured now that he has his old partner Tiago back alongside him. He did what Gabi does, battling, intercepting and winning tackles in front of the defence in a tenacious all round display.
Tiago – 7
Many have said that he can’t play two matches a week, but he followed on from Wednesday’s man of the match showing against PSV with another top performance. His calmness and energy puts the rest of the team at ease.
Koke – 7
Finally gets an assist from a corner, which will hopefully be the catalyst for more and help Atleti regain a weapon that he been redundant for most of the season. Passed the ball well and worked hard to combine midfield with the attacking and wider areas.
Ángel Correa – 6
Great assist for Gameiro’s goal, although he was in and out of the game and was withdrawn fairly early on in the second half. Again, his finishing was found wanting when Griezmann put him through 1-on-1.
Antoine Griezmann – 7
He may be the marquee name in the squad now, but he still runs and fights as hard as anyone for the benefit of the team. Created a number of chances through sheer endeavour and linked up nicely with Gameiro and Correa.
Kevin Gameiro – 7
His early miss aside, he put in another all action display in attack and was rewarded with another very well taken goal. His pace causes real problems, and he creates so many chances himself with his clever movement.
Yannick Carrasco – 7
Involved as soon as he came on, providing a threat on the break with his powerful running and dribbling. Took his goal really well, ensuring he will be back on the teamsheet against Espanyol next weekend.
Saúl Ñíguez – N/A
Thomas Partey – N/A
Do you agree with our ratings? What did you make of the performance?