Atlético’s 2010/11 season has been described by many as a campaign of disappointment, with few highs and so many lows. But forget the four derby defeats against Real, or the 4-1 humiliation on that Monday night at Hércules. It’s time to look back at the five best performances we’ve seen from Atlético Madrid this season! With important wins against Athletic, Villarreal and Inter Milan, which game tops our list?
5. La Liga round 2: Athletic Bilbao 1 – 2 Atlético
11 September 2010 – Highlights
Atlético Madrid continued its great start to the season with a strong performance at San Mamés, the Basque temple of football where few visiting teams are victorious. In those early weeks of the campaign the team oozed class and showed great resilience. Diego Forlán netted his third goal of the campaign after just two matches, while Simão, unintentionally, assisted both goals. The defence pushed high up the pitch and kept Bilbao’s strong attacking threats far away from David de Gea’s goal.
Unfortunately, Basque midfielder Carlos Gurpegui’s nasty tackle of Sergio Aguero just outside (or perhaps even inside of the penalty area) ruined the mood for Atleti supporters, as what should have been a straight red and a possible penalty kick for los Colchoneros ended in a yellow card to Gurpegui, a free kick outside of the box and our worst nightmare: Kun being stretchered off.
Looking back at this match we’re stuck with the feeling that we never reached our full potential in the remainder of the season, and a lot of it had to do with that early untimely injury of our Argentine wonder at a moment when our squad seemed to be firing on all cylinders.
After two matchdays we were leading the la Liga table but losses to Aris and Barcelona followed. Our euphoria was short-lived but at least we did get to see the full force and capabilities of Atlético for a short while.
4. La Liga round 12: Real Sociedad 2 – 4 Atlético
21 November 2010 – Highlights
A brilliant performance by Diego Forlán and Sergio Agüero made for a glorious comeback at San Sebastián. The home side had taken an early lead after Joseba Llorente tapped in a cross by Antoine Griezmann, but in the second half Atleti turned the match around and scored four goals to claim our first ever victory in the Anoeta stadium. It was also the first time in 12 years that we managed to comeback and win an away game after trailing at half-time.
We had actually created few chances prior to our first goal in the 72nd minute, but Forlán’s finish after great work by Kun broke the dam. The duo created another two goals before Simão decided the match in the added time from the penalty spot.
3. La Liga round 1: Atlético 4 – 0 Sporting Gijón
30 August 2010 – Highlights
Our league campaign couldn’t have got off to a better start. Fresh off our Super Cup win three days earlier we threw our fans an after-party at the Vicente Calderón. Before the match started Sporting players applauded Atlético as Antonio López paraded through the stadium with the recently won cup. The visitors would show nothing but great respect to their opponents, as they seemed to back off from every challenge and were chasing us all night. After just 11 minutes José Manuel Jurado, hours before his transfer to Schalke 04 was clinched, scored a belter which was a contender for goal of the season, but might not have even been the best of the night.
Our second goal, tapped in by Forlán, was created after a mesmerising run by Kun Agüero, who left four Asturians behind before finally being tackled. The ball fell to the Uruguayan, who calmy tapped it in. After Diego completed his brace the icing on the cake was provided by Simão, who curled the ball into the top-corner in spectacular fashion. That night the stadium was rocking like only the Vicente Calderón can and the fans were presented our biggest win of the season in round 1.
2. La Liga round 27: Atlético 3 – 1 Villarreal
5 May 2011 – Highlights
After the game against Sporting, the fans had to wait a long time for another spectacular home victory, and they got to see one against one of our most feared competitors. In the league Atleti had failed to beat any of their rivals (aside from Athletic) or the top two and frustration was growing with our lacklustre performances in the bigger games. With Villarreal in town, a team that always turns up and plays well at the Calderón, we were facing la Liga’s third placed side. But, perhaps unexpectedly, Atleti showed its best form and sunk the Yellow Submarine with three brilliant strikes.
José Antonio Reyes’ opening goal will have made it into all season compilations and Agüero and Forlán showed their class with subtle goals past Diego López. Once again Atlético left us wondering what could have been this season with this demonstration of football against arguably Spain’s best side outside of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
AtléticoFans Match of the Season
1. UEFA Super Cup: Internazionale 0 – 2 Atlético
27 August 2010 – Highlights
Atlético had a great run in May 2010, but what Internazionale accomplished in the same month was nothing short of perfection, collecting three prizes and winning the illustrious treble. Going into the UEFA Super Cup the Italians were the clear favorites, eventhough they had lost coach José Mourinho. Atleti meanwhile had rushed Diego Forlán back to fitness and hadn’t been able to convince its fans a great deal in pre-season, where the club opted to play against smaller clubs instead of teams of the same calibre as our Italian opponents.
During the match, however, we showed to be more than capable of competing with Inter, who, with new coach Rafa Benítez, didn’t have the same unbeatable aura they had a year before. In the first half the teams matched each other in terms of possession and chances, although our midfield, surprisingly, was the stronger of the two.
After an hour of play we deservedly took the lead after Reyes and Kun combined on the edge of the box, with the former squeezing the ball into the net, beating Julio César at the near post. Atleti held the Champions League winners out quite comfortably and decided the tie in the 83rd minute when Agüero tapped in a low cross by Simão.
Late on Inter were awarded a penalty but De Gea stopped Milito’s attempt and kept a clean sheet, saving us from a nervous end to the match. The Super Cup win was not only a crown on last year’s Europa League win but also a great boost ahead of the new season. Although ultimately this campaign was deemed a disappointment by most, we did manage to add a great piece of silverware to our collection in 2010/11.
At AtléticoFans we prefer to remember this season by our highs and the Super Cup that we won. What was your Match of the Season?