The endless white spell

Notes and quotes from yet another derby loss

Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea attempts a save of Sergio Ramos header that ended up a goal for Real Madrid

De Gea tries to save Ramos' header

All right. So we’ll have to wait another week to break the 11-year hex against our eternal rivals Real Madrid.

Forlán’s early opening strike transported us into a seven minute dream state that allowed us to muse about finally ending the curse against los Merengues, but Sergio Ramos’ goal snapped us out of our short-lived trance.

From then on out it was a one-sided affair dominated by the home side.

Atleti frustratingly ceded chunks of space at a time to the likes of Di María, Özil and Ronaldo, allowing them to create chance-after-chance, but a sublime performance by David de Gea delayed the inevitable tie-breaker until the second half.

After Ronaldo scored to put his squad up 2-1, we held our own as we sought to take a one-goal margin into the Calderón next week. We had survived Real’s relentless assault and the awful refereeing by Mateu Lahoz for the remainder of the second half, up until the utterly crushing third goal that resulted from yet another defensive fiasco in a week that was riddled with them.

The third goal really complicates our chances of making it to the next phase of the Copa del Rey. But even though our prospects of qualifying to the semi-finals look grim, sometime mid-next week we will all convince ourselves that a comeback is possible.

Post-game notes:

De Gea sprains finger
Our young goalkeeper turned in another rock solid performance that was sadly ruined by injury and a painful late goal that left us with one foot out the door of the domestic cup tournament.

About the knock he sustained, De Gea told MARCA: “When Cristiano slid at me I hurt myself. I think it’s a sprained finger.”

The 20-year-old reportedly left the stadium with his left hand bandaged, and he will undergo testing on it in order to determine the severity of the sprain.

Our midfield was an expansive void
With Assuncao tracking back and guarding the back-line, Raul Garcia was left to command our attack all alone in the first half and he was completely irrelevant. In fact, the most exciting part of the second half was when when Raul was taken off, though his replacement, Mario Suarez, wasn’t much better.

If we are to stand a chance in the return leg next week, we better hope Tiago makes it back from his hamstring injury in time to send Garcia back to his rightful spot on the bench.

Juanfran makes a great first impression
Just over 24 hours after having been officially presented by Atlético, Juanfran was fantastic in his Rojiblanco debut. The former Osasuna man didn’t appear to be rattled in any way despite the fact that he was playing in a hostile environment against a very tough opponent.

The 26-year-old created two solid chances for Kun to score, but the Argentine virtuoso couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities.

Juanfran isn’t giving up hope for next week’s second leg match. “I’m convinced that with the support of our fans we will make a comeback,” he wrote via Twitter. “Once we score our first goal the stadium will be throbbing.”

Perea, a brick wall
Central defender Luis Amaranto Perea was back in the fold after he was a late scratch against Hércules this past Monday with a minor ankle injury sustained in pre-game warm-ups.

The Colombian, our most consistent full-back this season, played exceptionally well and showed no visible signs of pain to his ankle.

Diego Forlan makes solid return to starting XI
Diego Forlan returned to the starting line-up as captain, after Sergio Agüero had served as captain the last two matches. We were all excited when Forlan got his goal, but it’s hard not to dwell on the missed chance early in the second half when he hit the post. We would likely be singing a different tune right now if he would’ve capitalised there.

Nonetheless, it’s refreshing to see our lethal attack duo side-by-side once again.

Kun not a big factor last 2 games
Sergio Agüero left some of his stardust back at the Cornellá-El Prat. After a fascinating performance that helped us see off Espanyol in the Round of 16 last week, Kun hasn’t been much of a factor in our last two games.

A return home this upcoming Monday following three straight matches on the road will likely bring back the best out of our little wizard.

Filipe unconvincing
Filipe isn’t convincing anyone. Our big summer signing has been tossed around like a rag doll, and gets man-handled on every play. He often looks discomposed and out-of-sorts. He’s been pitiful the past couple of games and an ugly mistake at the end of the clash that led to the third goal may end up costing us dearly. If Perea would’ve attempted to clear away the ball the way Filipe did, we would’ve crucified him.

At this point, I’m not so sure the left-back is an upgrade over Antonio López.

Elias watched the game from the stands again
Brazilian signing Elias was perfectly eligible to play ahead of the derby. In fact, hours before kick off he sent a message via Twitter in which he expressed his excitement about the possibility of debuting in Spanish football. However, Quique did not include him as a substitute and the midfielder did not suit up. For the second time this week, Elias watched his team-mates lose from the stands.

Hopefully we’ll finally get a glimpse of him in action on Monday against Mallorca.

Stat of the day
We haven’t beaten Real Madrid in 19 straight matches (13 losses, 6 draws).

Leave us your thoughts and observations about the game in the comment section!

  • Kaminero

    Very good points. I’m wondering why Quique’s having so much patience with Filipe who hasn’t done anything to prove he’s worth the truckload of money paid to Depor. With López we’d be better off defensively plus get another option for set pieces.

  • 7th

    filipe?. i thought he is doing fine, better than A.lopez.

    i hope quique think of putting felipe as a winger, and antino lopez as left back. with reyes becoming a right winger.

  • Remember that Filipe still has som playing to do before he’s back to normal after his injury last year. It takes som time, have patience. About the last goal I thunki it’s rather bad luck that Filipe gets the ball at his foot. Or am I wrong?

    Juanfran was very good indeed, but I hope that Quique changes flanks between him and Reyes, who hasn’t impress at all as a left winger.

    Cacha should have scored.

    Mateu Lahoz – what an idiot. He almost never blew his whistle despite certain contact and clear freekicks. Horrible, absolute horrible.

    About Elí I think that Quique will start with Tiago and him on monday. Just a thought. Paulo hasn’t been the player we’re used even though he was relatively good yesterday.

  • Ringo Schut

    I actually thought Filipe was one of pit better players yesterday, only that unfortunate mistake at the end…

  • Martin Rosenow

    I think it’s been an awful week for Filipe. Two huge mistakes against Hércules that cost us goals against, and another big one yesterday at the end of the game. Bad luck on that last play, maybe, but if you see the second goal, he just watches Özil and lets him put in the cross to Ronaldo.

    I know he has the potential to turn it around, but I’ve also seen Godín and Domínguez get punished for far less.

  • starvs

    Tiago was sorely missed in the middle. If Elias is what he is cracked up to be and Tiago comes back that could really help the next leg.

  • javi

    One thing I noticed that really bothered me was that when we were defending-most of the game-we just sat back and waited for them to make their plays and passes and then we reacted. RM kept make passes and getting past us, whic led to their many occasions on our goal. We need to put preasure on them from the moment they get the ball, not just wait to see what they do. If we do this Rm will not have room to make their plays like they did yesterday.

  • Well I’d like firstly to say something on the referee yesterday. I can’t say I am all pleased, especially of Cristiano’s tackle which should at least have been a yellow card, if not even red! Secondly, Ramos has a very aggressive approach and the kick wasn’t even punished? And yes, well played from the new players, especially Juanfran, and good goalkeeping from De Gea. Now I hope for a win at Vicente Calderon.

  • I really think that in recent month Filipe started to play his classy self, but out of nowhere he had this horrid week which is unexplainable. I guess that if A.Lo doesnt get his chance now he never will.