Champions League: Atlético 1 – 2 Benfica
Portugese champions condemn Atleti to second defeat in a row
Atlético Madrid suffered their first European defeat at the Vicente Calderón in two-and-a-half years on Wednesday evening as Benfica came from a goal down to win 2-1 in Madrid.
Ángel Correa’s opening goal, on his first Champions League start for Atlético, seemed to set the tone for what was about to come. However poor finishing, and a lack of composure in front of goal for Atleti means Benfica claim a vital away win.
Despite the early goal, Atleti pushed and pushed for the second but Simeone’s men were undone twice on the counter attack by Gaitán and then Guedes early in the second half.
The two goals the Portugese champions scored were two of only six opportunities the visitors had, whilst Atlético Madrid had 23 attempts on goal.
Atleti’s only goal of the night came in the 23rd minute, after a pass to Antoine Griezmann was cushioned down into the path of an on-rushing Ángel Correa. The young Argentine hit the ball on the half-volley past a diving Julio Cesár into the back of the net.
From that point, it looked to be a case of ‘how many?’ for Atlético, only for these thoughts to quickly disappear after each failed attempt.
The biggest culprit was Jackson Martínez, who chose to meet a low cross with his head just a few minutes after Atleti took the lead. The attempt struck the outside of the Benfica post and went out for a goal kick.
This wasn’t the only opportunity that the Colombian missed, and the less we say about some of the opportunities the striker had, the better. (It’s still early though, right?)
Benfica’s equaliser came from Nico Gaitán, after a diagonal ball was headed on by Godín and into the path of an unmarked Argentine on the corner of the Atleti area. The forward struck the ball on the half-volley into the back of the net past a helpless Jan Oblak.
The match-winner from Benfica came in the same fashion. A long, diagonal ball on the counter caught Atleti out, and a stretching Filipe Luís couldn’t get enough of a touch on the ball to put it out of harm’s way.
Goncalo Guedes let the ball run past him before cutting it across Oblak and into the far corner, for what looked like an impossible finish.
Despite throwing Luciano Vietto on to replace an injured Antoine Griezmann, and then Fernando Torres on for a tiring Correa, Atleti couldn’t get themselves back on level terms and will look on tonight’s performance with disappointment.
Especially when it comes to the finishing of chances.
Next up? Real Madrid visit the Vicente Calderón.
|Correa 23'||Gaitán 36'|
|UEFA Champions League|
|Estadio Vicente Calderón|
|30 September 2015|