La Liga: Almería 2 – 0 Atlético
Aranzubia and referee take away Atleti's top spot
Atlético Madrid have lost the top spot in La Liga after falling to Almería at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos.
The visitors controlled the entire game, but were frustrated by their opponents and the referee in a match where everything that could go wrong, seemed to be going wrong. In the final minutes two goals by Verza decided the game.
Atleti started without the injured trio of Courtois, Filipe and David Villa, while Koke sat out a one game suspension. The Rojiblancos started ambitiously with Manquillo and Raúl García bombing forward in the opening minutes, but both of their crosses were collected by goalkeeper Esteban.
Diego Costa played without a strike partner up front and throughout the entire game the team lacked penetration in the final third, as they were only able of getting shots off from far out. Diego Ribas was most active from distance, but fired all of his attempts wide of the target.
Midway through the first half Diego Costa was illegally blocked by a defender as he entered the box, but the obvious push was ignored by referee Teixeira Vitienes. Some minutes later the referee and his linesman again neglected to point to the spot after Javi Manquillo was clearly brought down from behind inside the box by Suso.
The second half was more of the same, with Diego shooting just wide and Almería constantly fouling in midfield. One foul led to a free kick taken by Sosa, who recorded our only shot on target of the game.
After an hour of play Almería substitute Hélder Barbosa committed a horrible challenge, taking Tiago down from behind. While the midfielder had to be stretchered off, adding to Atleti’s injury woes, the referee refused to hand out a card or even whistle for the foul.
In the 76th minute Almería ventured forward for the first time through Aleix Vidal, who skipped past two defenders before spectacularly hitting both posts with a single strike.
A few minutes later the game was decided by an incredible goal by Verza, although it’s not entirely clear the midfielder intended to strike the ball the way he did. After playing a short corner, Verza curled the ball into the topcorner far out of Aranzubia’s reach.
Atleti were shocked by the setback and nearly conceded again just moments later, but this time Aranzubia did intervene to deny Aleix Vidal.
Five minutes before the end Aranzubia made a huge mistake when he allowed Jonathan to block his long kick, but the goalkeeper recovered the ball just in time to prevent a second goal. However, Teixeira Vitienes pointed to the spot claiming Aranzubia pulled down the striker in an attempt to beat him to the ball. Replays showed the atrocious referee made another unbelievable mistake, but Atleti’s protests were to no avail.
With Simeone having already used his 3 substitutions, it was Gabi who put on the gloves. The captain, however, had no chance of stopping Verza’s excellent penalty.
|08 February 2014|
|Oscar Díaz (93')|
|Raúl García (77')|