Atlético de Madrid’s disappointing season came to an end on Saturday evening, along with Quique Sanchez Flores’ reign at the club, with a 4-3 away win at Real Mallorca. Sergio Agüero bagged a hat-trick, but other results didn’t go in los Colchoneros’ favour, meaning that the club will have to book their passage to the Europa League next season via a play-off.
Mallorca were involved in an intense battle to avoid the drop coming into the final day of the Liga season. With Almería and Hércules already doomed to relegation, six teams were fighting for their lives in Spain’s top division, including tonight’s opponents.
However, despite losing to Atlético in a spectacular match, the islanders avoided the drop. Both teams played with the intention of taking all three points tonight, which resulted in a thrilling encounter.
The home team started the match strongly, desperately trying to secure another year in Spain’s top flight, pinning us back in our own half early on.
But after the opening ten minutes our midfield took firm control of the match which soon led to our first goal. Juanfran found Kun, who dribbled past his man and beat Aouate from a tight angle.
Mallorca responded almost immediately, but Emilio Nsue saw his header stopped by David de Gea, who was in great form tonight. He again saved when Webó found himself through on goal after sloppy defending by Tiago.
The Cameroon striker was very active and caused a lot of trouble, especially to Ujfalusi, who was caught napping on multiple occasions but got away with it thanks to his goalkeeper.
Mallorca’s Michael Pereira was also very involved, but it was Atleti who scored again only five minutes after the first. Reyes played a magnificent through-ball to Juanfran who beat Aouate from a similar angle as the first to make it 2-0. It was the winger’s first goal for Atlético since joining the club in January and he will have been delighted with it, after he lamented his missed opportunity to dedicate a goal to his recently deceased father last week.
Just before the break Agüero came close to scoring his second after a nice one-two with Reyes, but the Argentine hit it over the bar. Reyes again played a great match in a central position behind our captain, and created chances for his teammates all night long.
At half time Michael Laudrup must have informed his players of the current standings, because they started the second half with all guns blazing, realising that a single goal by Deportivo would mean the Islanders went down.
During the entire second half it was raining chances for Mallorca, but Webó, De Guzman and Pereira all found De Gea in their way.
At the other end Atleti were ruthless. When he received the ball from Reyes, Agüero delivered what seemed to be the final blow. From the edge of the box he curled a ball beautifully inside the far post, leaving Aouate without a chance. The goal was Kun’s 100th for Atlético, a great achievement.
Although they were three goals down Mallorca refused to admit defeat and within a minute they were rewarded a penalty after Chori Castro’s shot was blocked by Valera with his arm. Unlike last week De Gea wasn’t able to stop the penalty as Jonathan de Guzmán sent him the wrong way.
In the 70th minute Webó missed a good chance made by Nsue, but seconds later he did score with a powerful header into the top corner to make it 2-3. With only a goal separating the sides Mallorca went on an all-out attack, leaving them vulnerable at the back. Tiago came close to scoring for Atleti, but he shot wide of the target.
Mallorca’s young winger Michael Pereira missed the chance to equalise in what could have been the goal of the season, but after leaving four defenders behind him, he lost his composure.
One man that was extremely composed in front of goal tonight was Sergio Agüero, and in the 81st minute he restored Atlético’s lead to 2 goals. Although he again received the ball from Reyes, this goal was a solo effort as Kun skipped past three defenders and then the goalkeeper, before lobbing the ball into the goal from what practically seemed to be the byline.
It was Kun’s first hat-trick in a rojiblanco shirt, although he was surprisingly timid in celebrating his goals, showing hardly any emotion. We hope this was out of respect for the anxious home crowd, and not because this was his final appearance for Atleti.
But still Mallorca wouldn’t give up and Pierre Webó scored his second with another beautiful header, although it was little too late. Fortunately for tonight’s hosts, Deportivo lost to Valencia, leaving Mallorca one spot above the relegation zone.
Because Sevilla and Athletic both won tonight nothing changed at the top of la Liga, so Atleti finish in the dreaded 7th position. We have qualified for next year’s Europa League campaign, but will have to play an extra preliminary round at the end of July to get into the final tournament.
Line-up: De Gea; Valera, Ujfalusi, Pulido, Filipe; Juanfran (“82 Raúl García), Mario Suárez (“69 Assunção), Tiago, Koke; Reyes and Agüero (“85 Elias).
Goals: 0-1 Agüero (“13); 0-2 Juanfran (“18); 0-3 Agüero (“60); 1-3 De Guzmán (p.k.)(“62); 2-3 Webó (“71); 2-4 Agüero (“81); 3-4 Webó (“92)