Tonight we started off the second round of la Liga on the wrong foot with a 1-0 defeat to Sporting Gijón.
We hosted the Asturians in our first league game of the season and beat them 4-0, with a team that included Godín, Reyes, Jurado, Simão and Agüero.
Tonight, we had to make do without all of those players and we suffered heavily. In 90 minutes we didn’t register a single shot on target. It was not until the dying seconds of the match that we finally put Sporting’s keeper to work.
Deep into injury time, former Atlético goalkeeper Pichu Cuéllar made a tremendous save to keep the three points in Gijón, where we hadn’t lost in 18 years.
It was our only chance of the game, in a match which barely lifted the spectators out of their seats. In the first half neither side made a single attempt on goal as the home team wasn’t capable of breaking through Atleti’s defence.
However, a spectacular screw up by Luis Perea and Raúl García decided the match. The two rojiblancos crashed into each other without clearing the ball, which then ended up right before the feet of David Barral.
The forward had no trouble beating De Gea from close range to break the deadlock. It was only the first time of the evening that De Gea saw an opponent appear before him.
Four minutes later the goalkeeper prevented worse, when he stopped a driven shot by another former Atlético player, Miguel de las Cuevas.
Atleti knew that they had to score but were never able to threaten Pichu in the remaining 30 minutes of the game. At least not until injury time.
A freekick was delivered perfectly to Valera’s head, who seemed as if he had scored the equaliser Atlético hardly deserved. But Cuéllar made an amazing save, tipping the ball over the crossbar.
Line-up: De Gea; Valera (“85 Filipe), Ujfalusi, Perea, López; Raúl García (“78 Koke), Assunção, Elias (“68 Fran Mérida), Juanfran; Diego Costa and Forlán.
Goals: 1-0 Barral (“53)