On the 45th anniversary of the Vicente Calderón’s inauguration, Atlético were unable to get one past Sevilla goalkeeper Javi Varas.
The match ended in an exasperating 0-0 draw, thwarting all plans of a celebration.
Teen sensation Thibaut Courtois saved us from all-out-disaster, spectacularly denying Manu del Moral in a one-on-one situation.
There’s still a long way to go, but it’s more than a little troubling for Atleti to already be back a full four points behind Betis and five points out of the Champions League target.
After failing to pass yet another big test, los Rojiblancos have only taken eight points out of 18 in the domestic competition, including two from scoreless ties at home.
While our boys have largely dominated possession and have kept a clean sheet in six consecutive home matches, at times they lack more of a killer instinct.
With the exception of Falcao, no one else seems as interested in getting their name on the score sheet.
Atleti now face a two week break before a trip to Granada, followed by a tough away clash at Udinese five days later.
After the match against Granada, Atlético have a series of five winnable league games before a visit to the Santiago Bernabéu on the weekend of November 27th.
Manzano only has words of praise for his squad
“If we had to write up a scorecard for the match, I would say the first half clearly belonged to Atlético Madrid,” the coach said in the post-game press conference.
“The second half was split into two different parts, where Sevilla dominated at the beginning and then we dominated the final part.
“Ultimately, we dominated two-thirds of the clash. We’ve shown more on the pitch than Sevilla, and in the general sum of the encounter, I’d say we deserved the victory because of the general makeup of the game.”
The manager continued:
“When there’s a match you always want to take the three points and that’s what we work for. Now we have to see why we were unable to take those points,” he said.
“We’ve played well, it’s true that Sevilla have had their moments because they have very good players that can cause some damage, but I think that today, analysing the collective work of the team, all that’s left is for me to thank my players for their effort today, as well as on Thursday.
“I think we deserved to take the match, but Javi Varas turned in a splendid performance. We have to keep working on our plans and I’m sure we’ll keep creating chances and triumphs later on.”
Unfortunately for Manzano, victories in La Liga aren’t achieved by winning out in the scorecard like a boxing match, only the final score matters.
Strangely, level at 0-0, Manzano didn’t use all his substitutions and left a fresh Adrián on the bench.
The manager’s starting line-up didn’t displease many though, as all our firepower was unleashed on Sevilla from the get-go.
It’s a real shame we couldn’t take advantage of this golden opportunity to exact revenge on our rivals. They were missing a couple of key defensive pieces and their main attacking threat Alvaro Negredo only played about 15 minutes.
It will be a lot harder to come out victorious when we face Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in early March.
José Antonio Reyes laments missed chances
‘La Perla’ returned to the starting XI after not appearing in the fold against Rennes last Thursday. He seemed much more involved than he has in recent weeks, this time in more of a striker role.
But, just like team-mate Falcao, he missed two clear chances to score.
“I really wanted to be in the starting XI, especially against Sevilla,” Reyes said after the match.
“It was a crazy game but it was such a shame. We had chances to score a goal but it didn’t go in. Their goalkeeper must be congratulated, because he was phenomenal. He saved the game for his team.
“We’re left a bit upset because of that, because we’ve had chances and we’ve had the ball, but it didn’t go in, which was what we wanted.”
The 28-year-old talked about the positive things to take from the match.
“The important thing is that we’re creating chances, getting there and pushing our opponents back on their own goal,” he said.
“The goal isn’t arriving in the last matches but we have to keep working with the same mentality.”
Man of the Match Thibaut Courtois was pleased with his clean sheet
Belgian ‘keeper and Chelsea man Thibaut Courtois was put to work on Sunday, making five critical saves to preserve the shut out.
“It has been a good game for us, with a lot of chances although we never got the goal,” he said.
“I’m a little disappointed because we could’ve won. We were unlucky. The good thing is that we ended with a clean sheet after having conceded five goals to Barcelona, and that’s a positive.
“But I’m disappointed because we couldn’t win. Making saves is my job, and in this match I made two [big] saves. If the team needs me, I’m there. The tie against Rennes was good and in this match was one we had to win.
“We hope to win the next one.”
It’s fairly safe to say that Courtois has been among our best performers, if not the best performer so far this season.
If only we could find a way to convince Chelsea to let us have him for the rest of the decade…
Diego Godín handed second consecutive start in league action
Manzano handed Godín another chance to convince after a not-so-stellar showing at the Camp Nou.
With no sign of Messi at the Calderón Sunday, the Uruguayan looked more solid at the back and always provides us with an extra goal scoring threat in set piece situations.
“We dominated and deserved more,” the 25-year-old said.
“We lost two points but it is not a step back. We have to look forward, they are a tough opponent and there’s a reason why they are at the top part of the standings.
“They took what they wanted with them: a tie.”
- After getting off to a blistering pace, scoring six goals in three games against Celtic, Racing and Sporting, Falcao hasn’t scored in 279 minutes.
- Sílvio, who has been dealing with a groin injury since his arrival, has been called up by Portugal for the upcoming round of Euro 2012 Qualifiers. Let’s hope Portuguese national team coach Paulo Bento leaves our man on the bench for the matches against Iceland and Denmark, as his presence in our starting XI is critical. Should he play for his country, let’s hope he’s fit in time for our trip to Granada.
- Complete list of Atlético players called up for national team duty this round: Thibaut Courtois (Belgium), Arda Turan (Turkey), Diego Godín (Uruguay), Sílvio (Portugal), Eduardo Salvio (Argentina), Luis Amaranto Perea and Radamel Falcao (Colombia) and Joel and Koke (U-21 Spain).
- Former Colchoneros Raúl García and Juan Valera were productive in their new teams’ respective matches this past round. Raúl scored two goals for Osasuna in their 2-2 tie against Mallorca after having scored in los Rojillos’ previous game versus Granada. Valera assisted Miku’s goal in Getafe’s losing effort against Málaga.
- Reports in the Spanish media claimed that six Sevilla fans and two police officers were injured in clashes between fans outside the stadium before the game.
- ‘El Frente Atlético’ reportedly sang some despicable chants mocking the death of former Sevilla player Antonio Puerta, who tragically passed away on 28 August 2007, three days after collapsing on the pitch in a match against Getafe. Utterly shameful conduct by those fans.
Stat of the day
Atlético and Sevilla have tied 43 times, the matchup with the most draws in La Liga history (via @pedritonumeros).