Atlético Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw at home on Sunday night by underdogs Almería, thanks to a couple of fantastic individual performances from the away side.
Before the match Quique Sánchez Flores warned not to focus on the upcoming league match against Real Madrid, because first Almería were coming to the Vicente Calderón.
Our players seemed to have understood the message and started off strongly in the first half, but superb performances by Diego Alves and Pablo Piatti kept Atlético from three points tonight.
Within the first minute Diego Forlán had the first opportunity to open the scoring, and many more would follow. AtléticoFans counted eleven opportunities in front of Almería’s goal in the first half.
And that’s not even counting the penalty appeal from the fourth minute, when Reyes was taken down inside the box. The referee judged that he was fouled just outside the lines and awarded a freekick, from which Diego Alves pulled off a fantastic save after Reyes’ shot.
Ten minutes later the goalkeeper again stopped the Atlético attack, when he saved Kun’s attempt from nearby with his feet, while he was already diving the other way.
Alves also had an answer to long range efforts from Forlán, but finally had to concede in the 33rd minute.
Ujfalusi had made it all the way to the backline and crossed it to Reyes, whose header was too much for Alves to handle. The goalkeeper spilled it and Agüero was there first to score the rebound.
At that point Almería had threatened David de Gea’s goal just once, when striker Kalu Uche hit the post after being allowed too much space to shoot by Filipe and Domínguez.
But at the end of the first half Almería crawled out of their shell and were handed some decent opportunities by Atlético. First Uche headed a Piatti cross straight into De Gea’s hands, before forcing the young goalkeeper to make a spectacular save when he rifled at goal just a minute later.
In the last minute of the first half Almería did get their equaliser, when De Gea was unable to reach to a Piatti shot. The Argentine was allowed the time and space to control and shoot from a corner and accurately struck it just inside the near post.
With Fran Mérida on for Reyes, who had to be subbed off with an injury, Atlético went to look for a new lead at the start of the second half.
Birthday boy Simão, who celebrates his 31st birthday today, found Alves on his way after a one-two through the middle with Forlán.
And the goalie again prevented Simão from scoring when he magnificently kept out his freekick minutes later, a scenario that was later repeated.
Agüero, Tiago and Mérida all failed to find the back of the net, while Piatti and Macedo shot wide at the other end of the pitch.
Perea, who picked up a yellow card and is suspended for our match against Real, saw how Alves saved his header.
Sergio Agüero had two more shots on goal and took a freekick on the edge of the box, but all to no avail.
And so this frustrating match ended in a draw. We seemed harmless without Reyes on the pitch and we’re hoping that his injury isn’t serious.
With Godín already injured and Perea now suspended, we’ll need everybody else to be at their best in the upcoming matches.
Line-up: De Gea; Ujfalusi, Perea, Domínguez, Filipe; Reyes (“45 Fran Mérida), Tiago (“83 Raúl García), Assunção, Simão; Forlán (“73 Diego Costa) and Agüero.
Goals: 1-0 Agüero (“33), 1-1 Piatti (“45)