Like on the opening day of the season, Atlético Madrid were held to a draw by newly promoted Alavés on Saturday afternoon, neither side managing to make the breakthrough in Vitoria.
It was a forgettable match for rojiblanco fans, and despite their team being second best will feel they should’ve taken the three points after Nico Gaitán missed a golden chance to win the match.
Fatigue clearly played a part for the visitors given their cup run, although the home side – also in the Copa del Rey semi-finals – had no such troubles and were the better side from the off.
Atleti didn’t have a notable chance to speak of until the last 15 minutes of the match, and looked vulnerable again in defence against Mauricio Pellegrino’s side.
Ibai Gómez and particularly Víctor Camarasa were causing problems, the two combining early on to call Moyá into action, and then forcing a last ditch block from José Giménez.
Atleti only managed one shot on target in the half and two all match, Griezmann shooting straight at Fernando Pacheco after finding some space.
The best chance of the opening period came from a free-kick, Laguardia hitting the crossbar with a clever improvised attempt before Deyverson somehow failed to convert the rebound.
More of the same followed in the second half, and Atleti were dealt a blow when Giménez was forced off with what looked to be a reoccurrence of a thigh injury that ruled him out for over a month earlier in the season.
The Uruguayan was in tears as he made his way off the pitch, and with Godín possibly facing disciplinary action after a spitting incident with Deyverson late in the match, Simeone may be left short of centre-backs for a while.
Camarasa continued to make life difficult for the visitors, and twice had good chances to shoot at goal but was let down by poor touches and an unfortunate loss of footing just as he was about to pull the trigger.
However, with just over ten minutes on the clock Atleti had the chance to take all three points back to the capital when Gaitán ran clean through on goal with goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco.
The Argentine looked set to give his team an undeserved lead, but he took too long to make up his mind and was eventually thwarted by the Alavés stopper as he looked to go round him.
It was an inexcusable miss, and one that was almost punished by the home side in the final stages who probably would’ve gone on to win if not for Moyá.
Atleti loanee Theo almost scored the winner after a great run forward, but his low effort was turned behind for a corner by Moyá, who then made another good intervention to prevent Santos from close range.
Then in the last minute of injury time, Deyverson came an inch away from converting from a free-kick after the aforementioned melee with Godín which could land both players in hot water.
The Brazilian was caught spitting at Godín, who then got his revenge by doing the exact same thing. The referee didn’t see it, but the cameras did and the Spanish FA will surely do so as well.
It was an ugly end to an ugly match, one which saw Alavés dominate in terms of possession, shots on and off target, corners and every aspect other than the scoreline.
Both teams will be frustrated with the result, and will need to pick themselves up for the Copa del Rey semi-finals in midweek. Atleti host Barcelona in their first leg on Wednesday night.
Player ratings: Moyá 7 (MOTM), Vrsaljko 5, Godín 5, Giménez 6, Filipe 5, Koke 6, Saúl 5, Gaitán 5, Carrasco 4, Griezmann 5, Gameiro 4. Subs: Savic 5, Correa 5, Torres 5.