Atlético de Madrid are back to winning ways after earning a fantastic 3-1 win over fourth-placed Villarreal on Saturday evening. We had promised you a spectacular match and it certainly was, providing four beautiful goals.
In Spain a stunning strike is called a golazo and there is no other way to describe José Antonio Reyes‘ opening goal in the 5th minute. The winger, who was in majestic form tonight, found space inside the Villarreal half, shifted the ball on to his left foot and curled it into the far corner of the goal. It was the Andalusian’s fourth goal in 2011 and surely one of the most beautiful he’s scored in his career.
It must be said that Giuseppe Rossi‘s strike to level the score after half an hour was just as much a delight to see. Up until then the visitors hadn’t created any goalscoring chances but were awarded a freekick just outside the area when Domínguez brought down Nilmar. Rossi took place behind the ball and caught De Gea wrong-footed, but with the accuracy and power in the Italian’s shot there wasn’t much De Gea could have done about it either way.
Before this, Atlético had created chances to double their lead, with Forlán hitting the sidenetting. Reyes managed to dribble all the way to the goalline but couldn’t pull it back for a teammate. Atlético pushed Villarreal back and didn’t allow for their dangerous midfielders and forwards to be involved in the game, as our entire team worked as a collective to regain possession as soon as they lost it.
Due to our aggressiveness we dominated the entire match, but it wasn’t until after the hour mark that we finally created more goalscoring opportunities. With the Villarreal players looking uncharacteristically out of touch, Atlético’s forwards sliced through their defence like a knife through butter. In the 60th minute Reyes released Agüero, but the Argentine’s left foot finish went well wide of goal.
At the other end Villarreal broke quickly on a counter-attack with Cani bringing the ball forward, but Cazorla’s shot was easily caught by De Gea. Some minutes later Diego Forlán twice tested Diego López within thirty seconds but the goalkeeper did well to keep the Uruguayan out.
But a minute later López was beaten for the second time. Elias and Filipe combined well and the left back lobbed the ball to Kun Agüero, who then lifted it over the Villarreal ‘keeper sweetly to make it 2-1.
Atleti put the result beyond doubt just three minutes later when Diego Forlán made it 3-1.
The former-Villarreal topscorer played a one-two with Reyes and the winger played it back perfectly into Forlán’s path. Cacha’s first touch was a bit heavy, but he did well to chip it over the onrushing López.
The match was decided long before the final whistle, although Nilmar did threaten our goal one last time. His volley came from an impossible angle and landed on top of De Gea’s goal.
Substitute Paulo Assunção came close to scoring a golazo of his own when he sent a missile towards Villarreal’s goal from at least 30 metres out, but Diego López managed to get his body behind it and make the save.
In added time Atlético could have added another goal, but Juanfran made a mess of a simple tap in after Reyes and Forlán had set him up brilliantly. It was our Uruguayan captain who had the last opportunity of the match, but his shot went just wide of López’ post.
Today’s victory is only our first home win since 17 January and takes us to the sixth place in la Liga, with most of our rivals in action later this weekend.
Line-up: De Gea; Ujfalusi, Godín, Domínguez, Filipe; Reyes, Tiago, Mario Suárez (“82 Paulo Assunção), Elias (“69 Koke); Forlán and Agüero (“88 Juanfran).
Goals: 1-0 Reyes (“5); 1-1 Rossi (“34); 2-1 Agüero (“69); 3-1 Forlán (“72)