Atlético Madrid were held to a goalless draw by fellow Champions League contenders Sevilla.
There were plenty of chances for either side to score in the Vicente Calderón on Sunday night, but both goalkeepers managed to keep a clean sheet by making numerous impressive saves.
Gregorio Manzano made some changes to his formation after the 1-1 tie with Stade Rennes. Diego Godín and Tiago replaced Miranda and Gabi, while Sílvio returned from injury. In attack the coach chose for Sevilla youth product José Antonio Reyes, who took Adrián’s place.
Reyes was our most dangerous player in the opening period of the game. In the fifth minute he had the chance to score, but he couldn’t get enough power behind the shot with his weaker right foot.
A little later the Andalusian missed another huge opportunity. A loose ball fell before his feet only a couple of yards away from goal when Sevilla failed to clear Sílvio’s low cross, but Reyes slipped and his shot curled just past the wrong side of the post.
Atlético had the upper hand in the first half and came close to scoring in the 21st minute, but Tiago and Diego got in each other’s way and the Brazilian’s ensuing effort went off target.
All of Atleti’s attacks went through Reyes and the winger set up Arda Turan on the edge of the area after half an hour, but the Turk’s attempt was blocked by a Sevilla defender.
The visitors struggled to keep possession and used all their tricks to frustrate Atlético and slow down the pace of the game. Undiano Mallenco had his hands full with the heated affair and showed seven yellow cards in the first half.
Sevilla returned from the dressing rooms with more offensive intentions, because they pinned Atleti back on their own half. The best chance after the break was for Manu del Moral, who stole the ball in midfield from Mario Suárez and went through on goal because the midfielder was our last man. But Manu, who played a handful of games for Atlético in the past, was unable to beat Thibaut Courtois.
The Belgian ‘keeper did very well to stop shots from Jesús Navas and Freddy Kanouté as well.
After an hour of play we forced ourselves back into the game and almost took the lead, but Falcao missed from close range after great work by Reyes on the right side.
Some minutes later the Colombian again received the ball from Reyes, but this time Javi Varas did brilliantly to get a touch on Falcao’s shot and the ball went just wide. Within a minute the goalkeeper again was called to action, when he pulled off a spectacular save to shut out Reyes once more.
Atleti piled on the pressure with shots from Diego and Gabi, while at the other end Spahic came within inches of scoring with a dangerous header.
Sevilla seemed happy to take a point back home, as they continued to frustrate Atleti and shamelessly wasted time to fulfill the 90 minutes.
In the added time substitute Eduardo Salvio almost scored a late winner, but his diagonal shot whistled past the post.
Atleti managed to keep another clean sheet, but also haven’t won in three matches. We finish the weekend in eighth position in la Liga, which resumes after an international break. Our next match is away to newly promoted Granada on the 15th of October.
Line-up: Courtois; Sílvio, Godín, Domínguez, Filipe; Tiago (“67 Gabi), Mario, Diego; Reyes (“76 Salvio), Falcao and Arda Turan.