Atlético Madrid’s winning streak came to an end on Tuesday, but despite two late Las Palmas goals, the rojiblancos qualified for the Copa del Rey quarter-finals 4-3 on aggregate.
Antoine Griezmann and Ángel Correa put the home side in front on two separate occasions, but a Marko Livaja double and a late winner from Mateo gave Las Palmas the 3-2 win on the night.
With two goals and a commanding lead from the first leg, both teams came out with a sense that the tie was already won and played without the usual intensity we’re used to seeing in La Liga.
As expected, the visitors dominated possession and had the better of the chances in a quiet first half, Marko Livaja forcing Moyá into a smart save and Tana shooting just over from a tight angle.
Griezmann was busy up at the other end, having surprisingly made the team sheet despite attending the FIFA Best Player Award ceremony last night instead of training with the rest of the team.
He opened the scoring shortly after half-time, converting from close range after Nico Gaitán laid the ball across. It was Grizi’s 12th goal of the season and third in as many games.
However, red and white joy was shortlived as Livaja equalised less than ten minutes lately. After being allowed to run into the box, he lashed the ball across Moyá to level on the night.
Atleti were back in front almost instantly though, Ángel Correa scoring doing brilliantly to chase down a long ball and beat ‘keeper Raúl Lizoain from a tight angle after shrugging off his marker.
It was a goal that capped an excellent performance from him, and one that could give Simeone some decisions to make with the misfiring form of Fernando Torres and Kevin Gameiro.
Just as things looked as if they were starting to fizzle out, Las Palmas staged a fightback from nowhere, making it 2-2 in the 89th minute as Livaja tapped home his second of the match.
Then deep into injury time, Mateo put the visitors ahead with a clever finish from a free-kick. Suddenly, the visitors were just a goal away from going through.
Had there been another few minutes left they may have had the momentum to go on and get the goal they needed, but thankfully Atleti held on and will be in Friday’s draw.
Still, there will be question marks over Simeone’s team despite their recent four match winning run. All three goals were sloppily conceded, with Juanfran shouldering some of the blame for the last two.
Hopefully it will serve as a wake up call for the team ahead of an important run, starting with a home clash in La Liga against Betis on Sunday.
One player who will remember the night fondly is 19 year-old Keidi, who made his Atleti debut in the closing stages as a substitute. Fellow canterano Lucas didn’t have such a good night having picked up an injury in the first half. We’ll have more news on his fitness in the coming days.
Player ratings: Moyá 5, Vrsaljko 6, Godín 6, Giménez 7, Lucas 5, Juanfran 5, Koke 6, Saúl 6, Gaitán 6, Griezmann 7, Correa 7 (MOTM). Subs: Gabi 5, Torres 5, Keidi N/A.