La Liga: Atlético 2 – 1 Athletic Club
Golazo from Griezmann sends Atlético level on points at top of La Liga
A goal of sheer quality from Antoine Griezmann sealed a come-from-behind win for Atlético Madrid against Athletic on Sunday evening.
Despite going a goal down in the first-half, Atleti fought hard, and goals from Saúl and Griezmann were enough to claim all three points and send Atlético level on points with Barcelona at the top of the league.
It wasn’t the kind of defensive performance we’re used to seeing from Atlético Madrid. Diego Simeone’s men made sure that Jan Oblak had plenty to do on Sunday evening, after being largely untroubled in recent Atleti matches.
The subplot of the match was the return of Raúl García to the Vicente Calderón after nine years in the Spanish capital.
Atlético began the game as the stronger of the two sides, enjoying the majority of possession in the opening ten minutes, however they struggled to create any real chances due to some poor decision making.
Carrasco sent the first shot of the match flying well over the crossbar, whilst Saúl’s attempt from distance was blocked by the Athletic defence.
The visitors looked confident when they did have the ball, and got themselves into the match as time ticked on. Aduriz’ first attempt on goal was easily caught by Oblak, looking for yet another clean sheet in the league this season.
It was Atlético who had the ball in the back of the net first, as Vietto got his head onto the end of Koke’s cross to guide the ball past Iraizoz. However, the assistant referee raised his flag and the goal was ruled out for offside. It was a tidy finish from Vietto nonetheless.
Goals ruled out for offside in this fixture is a touchy subject, but there was nothing to suggest that this was the wrong decision.
Aduriz almost scored the spectular after a fantastic ball forward from Laporte. The Athletic striker beat Godín to the ball and tried to lob Oblak with a beautiful shot, but the Slovenian goalkeeper tipped it over the bar for a corner.
Athletic did take the lead from the resulting set piece, and it was the would-be assister Laporte that got the goal. The corner in was flicked on by Antoine Griezmann, and Laporte was waiting at the back post unmarked to smash the ball home. 1-0 to the visitors.
Atleti turned up the tempo and forced another couple of opportunities, but very little to worry Iraizoz.
Carrasco came closest to make it 1-1 with a volley from the egde of the box, but Iraizoz turned the shot away for a corner.
With the last chance of the first half, from the resulting Koke corner, Saúl Niguez made it 1-1 with a header at the near-post, outjumping the Athletic defenders to lift the proverbial roof off of the Vicente Calderón.
Oblak pulled off a good save to start the second half after a tight angle shot from Boveda, who had a lot of space on the right. Athletic continued to pressure Atleti and make chances in the opening ten of the second period.
Atleti looked to hit the visitors on the counter, in what was an end-to-end start to the second half. Griezmann had a chance snuffed out by Boveda whilst Aduriz was denied at the other end by Jan Oblak.
Athletic were wasteful from set pieces in the second half, with Beñat the aggressor. After José Giménez unforgivingly brought down his old teammate Raúl García, the Athletic midfielder was given another opportunity to curl one over the bar.
Simeone was the first manager to shuffle the pack when he brought on Ángel Correa in place of Carrasco, who struggled to create anything on the left wing all evening. Fernando Torres followed shortly, replacing Luciano Vietto.
Almost exactly half-way through the second period, Antoine Griezmann made it 2-1 with an absolutely fantastic finish from well outside of the area.
A Filipe Luís throw in bounced its way into the Atleti box after substitute Mikel Rico failed to clear the ball. Guided by Ángel Correa into his path, Antoine Griezmann let fly with his left foot and curled the ball beautifully inside Iraizoz’ right hand post.
Athletic pushed more players forward to get back on terms as tensions increased as Atleti dropped deeper to defend their lead. Some sloppy tackling and aggressive defending did little to help calm things down.
Antoine Griezmann made way for Stefan Savin as Simeone looked to bolster the defence in the final five minutes. Atlético ran the clock down and the referee blew the final whistle for Atleti’s fifth straight league win – this one from behind.
Level on points at the top of La Liga with Barcelona, Atleti can go top of the table for Christmas with a draw or win in their next match.
Bonus – Antoine Griezmann’s golazo for Atleti
|Atlético Madrid||21||Athletic Club|
|Saúl 45'||Laporte 27'|
|13 December 2015|