La Liga: Atlético 3 – 0 Real Sociedad
Griezmann on target against old club as rojiblancos turn on the style
Atlético Madrid recorded their biggest home league win of the season on Tuesday night, winning 3-0 against Real Sociedad and putting in a convincing performance at the Vicente Calderón.
Diego Reyes’ early own goal got the ball rolling, before second half goals from the impressive Saúl Ñíguez and Antoine Griezmann from the penalty spot made sure of the three points.
Simeone made just one change to the team that beat Real Madrid on Sunday, choosing to start compatriot Luciano Vietto in attack in place of Fernando Torres.
His decision was vindicated as the 22 year-old put in an impressive performance up front, causing problems with his quick feet and clever movement as the home side dominated from the start.
It took just eight minutes for us to take the lead, Mexican defender Diego Reyes turning Koke’s cross into his own net following a breakdown in communication with goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
That set the tone for La Real’s performance, Eusebio’s looking anything but a side that have taken 13 points from a possible last 15. Atleti continued to push and probe, and almost added to their lead – twice – through an unlikely source.
Diego Godín has scored just the once this season, and should’ve doubled his tally towards the end of the half when more sloppy defending from the visitors presented him with a golden chance.
Somehow, with the goal gaping he was unable to turn home Antoine Griezmann’s deflected cross, not long after he had spurned a similar chance at the back post from a corner.
Vietto also came close to scoring just his second league goal of the season before the break, but after a positive run he could only shoot down the throat of Rulli, who parried the ball away from harm’s way.
Many times this season Atleti have failed to build on one-goal leads at the Calderón, but did so today less than a minute into the second half, once more punishing a mistake from the away side.
Griezmann picked up a lost ball outside the box, played it over the top for Vietto, and his cross found Saúl with a Frank Lampard-style run into the box to finish for 2-0.
On the hour mark, referee Hernández Hernández gave us the chance to make it three when he pointed to the spot, awarding just our second penalty all season when Griezmann was fouled by Alberto de la Bella.
Vietto was involved once more with a clever pass into the Frenchman, who dusted himself off to convert against his old team and make the three points a certainty.
With a tough match away at Valencia to come on Sunday, Cholo opted to wrap a few players in cotton wool ahead of the trip and make sure they didn’t pick up suspensions.
Godín, who may have had a slight injury, Griezmann and Gabi all came off, although Augusto did pick up his fifth yellow card of the season late on in the half which means he’ll be unavailable.
The Argentine has emerged as a key player in recent matches, and will be a big miss against Gary Neville’s side on the evidence of his performances tonight and against Real Madrid.
La Real pushed for a consolation goal, coming close when a combination of Reyes and Atleti’s young substitute Lucas headed against the post.
Jonathas and Carlos Vela also had chances, but Oblak remained untested and claimed his fifth clean sheet in a row.
In injury time, Ángel Correa was cruelly denied what should’ve been our fourth goal, inexplicably being ruled offside after slotting home a cross from Filipe. Replays showed the youngster was behind not one but two defenders when the ball was played.
Still, it didn’t cost us or take away from the win, and fans will go home happy after watching one of our best attacking performances of the season.
Now, we have five days to prepare for the visit to Mestalla, and can sit back and hope for Levante and Rayo to do the business against Real Madrid and Barcelona later in the week.
|Atlético Madrid||30||Real Sociedad|
|Reyes o.g. 8'|
|Griezmann pen 61'|
|01 March 2016|
|De la Bella|