Deportivo are famous for their goalless draws, and for a long time Atlético’s visit to the Riazor seemed as if it would end 0-0. That was until Agüero netted a late goal preventing a complete shut-out in Coruña.
The Galicians have very few resources or quality players available, but coach Lotina has managed to make his team’s defence watertight, frustrating many opposing fans and players.
For 80 minutes Atleti was repeatedly walking into a brick wall, but substitutes Juanfran and Diego Forlán found a hole in the Depor dam that allowed Sergio Agüero to score his 9th goal in 7 consecutive matches.
The Argentine forward had said earlier this week that he hopes to reach 100 goals for Atlético by the end of the season, and with today’s match winner his tally stands just two shy of his objective.
For a long time it didn’t seem like Atlético would take the full three points in A Coruña, but the game changed in our favour when Alberto Lopo received his second booking of the night in the 60th minute.
Before that, los Rojiblancos had dominated proceedings but failed to create many opportunities. In the first half only Kun came close to scoring when he came inside and launched a missile with his right foot, but the ball smacked against the crossbar.
Tiago, Reyes and Agüero had some more shots but none were a serious threat to goalkeeper Aranzubia.
Deportivo were the more active side in the first half, pinning Atleti down in their own box in the opening minutes, although they soon retracted to their own side of the pitch, wary of the pace of Atlético’s forwards.
But with quick breaks and balls over the top they tried to reach their attackers and especially Andrés Guardado proved to be a handful for the Atlético defence in the first half. He twice forced De Gea to a save, who besides those moments had little to worry about.
After Lopo’s second yellow card, Atlético took a firm grip of the match and tried to open up Depor’s defence by playing down the wings where Filipe and Ujfalusi were going up and down all night. With Juanfran on the right and Reyes out wide on the left, Atleti managed to stretch play, ultimately leading to the solitary goal of the match.
Juanfran received the ball on the edge of the box and played a one-two with Forlán who backheeled it in the path of the winger. He then drew two defenders to him, leaving Agüero all alone inside the box. The Argentine received the ball from Juanfran and calmly slotted it past Aranzubia.
In the remaining minutes there were two more chances for Atleti, but Kun hit the side netting while Juanfran blasted a chance over the crossbar.
Deportivo opportunistically hoofed the ball forward, which resulted in some corners, but besides one header from Diego Colotto they never got a shot off.
It wasn’t a very pleasant game for the spectators, but Atleti did what needed to be done and brought home three points, leapfrogging Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao in the Liga table at least for the night.
Line-up: De Gea; Ujfalusi, Perea, Godín, Filipe; Reyes (“86 Raúl García), Tiago, Mario, Elias (“68 Juanfran); Agüero and Diego Costa (“67 Forlán).
Goals: 0-1 Agüero (“80)