Atlético had kept a clean sheet in their last four games at the Vicente Calderón, and had won 4-0 in the reverse fixture against Celta back in September, so the stats were in their favour.
With both teams being knocked out in the semi-final of the Copa del Rey, the match was poised for goals, and that is exactly what happened.
From the off both sides were lively, but it was the visitors who took the lead in Madrid. A Jozabed shot deflected out for a corner, and as Sisto delivered a cross close to Moya, the backup goalkeeper palmed the ball straight into Cabral’s head who had an empty net. Oblak’s absence was sorely missed.
Atleti were level four minutes later, with a sublime shot from veteran Fernando Torres with his back to goal the Spaniard took a touch and dinked it over a stranded 5’11 Sergio, the perfect response to going behind. A definite contender for goal of the season.
The goal seemed to burst the team into life, and soon after a penalty shout was turned down, although replays showed there was certainly contact. A great ball from Koke to Torres who was in the thick of the action once again.
Celta were dangerous on the counter, and Fulham loanee Jozabed hit the post with a rocket of a shot. Moya was well beaten, a sign of things to come later in the game.
A minute later, however, the game was back in Atleti’s hands as Carrasco was blatantly tripped in the box by Hernandez. It was the Belgian international who was keen to take the penalty until Torres took the ball off him to end the penalty curse, he stepped up confidently and hit the bar.
It summed up Atleti’s run of penalties. Disappointment instantly hit Torres’s face as he failed to take the lead for the first time in the game.
Antoine Griezmann played a wonderful ball to play through Carrasco who was denied. Another good chance not taken by the forward who has been off the pace in the New Year.
After the break it was the visitors who had dominated, to the stage the home side were struggling to get out of their own half. Due to a lack of energy and pace up top, Griezmann victim to a lack of effort.
Substitute Wass played a great pass into the Guidetti who took a touch but blasted over the bar. Unfortunately for Atlético, a couple minutes later, the next chance he got – he took.
Aspas played the ball into the Swedish striker, who slotted excellently, but Savic was at fault for poor defending.
Celta were on their way to pulling off a shock defeat, that was until Celta’s clearance from an Atleti corner fell to Carrasco who out of nowhere pulled out a stunning volley to equalise.
With two minutes left of normal time, Vrsaljko crossed the ball into Gamiero who nodded down to fellow French strike partner Griezmann who powered it home from four yards to win the game for Cholo’s men.
Full-time went at the Vicente Calderón, and Atlético now move back up to fourth. You would feel Champions League football is a must in the new stadium.
Player ratings: Moyá 5, Juanfran 5, Lucas 7, Savic 5, Filipe 6, Gabi 7, Koke 7, Saúl 5, Carrasco 8, Torres 8 (MOTM), Griezmann 7. Subs: Vrsaljko 6, Correa 6, Gameiro 6.