While everyone in Spain was upset after yet another surprising decision by FIFA, there was a league fixture to be played in Alicante.
It was the second of three consecutive games we play on a Monday, although if it were up to Enrique Cerezo, next week’s game against Mallorca would no doubt be moved to the weekend.
According to our club president it shows a lack of respect for a big club like Atlético, while it gives Real Madrid two days extra rest ahead of our second Copa del Rey leg.
After tonight we’re not so sure if Cerezo will dare repeat his words. Our club looked nothing like a big Spanish team during the 4-1 drubbing we received from a side who were playing in the Liga Adelante last year.
Before the match had even started Quique Sánchez Flores had to make a change to the starting line-up. Luis Perea injured his ankle during the warm up and was replaced by Diego Godín.
New signing Elias also wasn’t available, as he still has not been registered to play. Apparently we’re waiting for Brazilian officials to open their office, but they’re on a holiday leave until the 15th.
Those two players will have been happy to sit this one out. Not a single Atlético player out there seemed to care about the shirt they’re playing for. The Hércules players haven’t been paid in months but showed infinitely more desire to play football in the Rico Pérez stadium tonight.
The home team started the match aggressively and took control of the midfield early on. This resulted in Tote’s goal, although there wasn’t a defender who even attempted to stop the offensive midfielder.
In the 11th minute the home side’s number 10 played a one-two and received the ball inside the box. There he turned Domínguez and Filipe inside out, before beating David de Gea at the near post with a weak attempt that the young goalkeeper couldn’t handle.
Ten minutes later Nelson Haedo Valdez doubled Hércules’ lead with a wonderful strike. He picked up the ball outside the box after Filipe and Domínguez stupidly gave away the ball and the Paraguayan beautifully curled it into the far topcorner.
The team wasn’t able to pick itself up, because after half an hour Thomert made it 3-0 with his first ever goal for the Blanquiazules. He found himself entirely free inside our box and headed the ball past De Gea.
Things got even worse just before half time. Tote played in David Trezeguet and the French striker calmly slotted it past our goalkeeper. It was only the fourth shot on target for the home side, but they did take a 4-0 lead to the dressing room.
With the match already decided Atlético tried to make the best out of it in the second half. In the 54th minute Agüero almost put one back but his freekick ended up hitting the post.
Shortly after midfielder Fritzler did the same thing when he smashed a shot from distance against the woodwork behind De Gea.
It wasn’t the best of performances by our young goalkeeper, but luck was on his side when he spilled a powerful shot by Sendoa. Fortunately for the goalkeeper the ball ended up behind the goal and not in it.
Atleti tried to score at least one goal, but Diego Costa, Forlán and Fran Mérida were all unsuccessful with their attempts.
One minute before the end Reyes finally saved what was left of our honour and scored a consolation goal. He skipped past two defenders and slammed it past Catalayud with his right foot. It was only the winger’s first goal since he opened the scoring in the European Super Cup against Inter, and his first goal in the league since March.
With a cup game against Real Madrid on Thursday this might turn out to be a disastrous week for Atlético. However we hope that this has been a fierce wake-up call. A win in the Bernabeú right now seems the only thing that can lift up the spirits on our side of Madrid.
Line-up: De Gea; Ujfalusi, Godín, Domínguez, Filipe; Raúl García (“59 Koke), Assunção, Mario Suárez (“45 Fran Mérida), Reyes; Diego Costa and Agüero (“78 Forlán).
Goals: 1-0 Tote (“11); 2-0 Váldez (“23); 3-0 Thomert (“32); 4-0 Trezeguet (“44); 4-1 Reyes (“89)