La Liga: Atlético 2 – 0 Deportivo
Reckless hooligans overshadow efficient Atleti victory
Atlético Madrid keep pace with Real Madrid at the top of La Liga after emerging 2-0 winners on Sunday afternoon against Deportivo at a subdued Vicente Calderón.
It’s a result that will be overshadowed by events that took place before the game between Frente Atlético and the Riazor Blues.
In a midday timeslot aimed to encourage families to attend, reports are suggesting that fighting broke out shortly after 9am when both groups came together.
The most disturbing news was that of a Deportivo fan, who is in critical condition in hospital. AS is reporting that he suffered cardiac arrest after he was beaten and thrown into the Manzanares river.
Unsurpisingly, it was an odd atmosphere within the ground following the fighting, and it was a surprise that the game even went ahead. Liga officials allegedly tried to postpone the match, but there was nobody at the offices of the Spanish Football Federation, so there was little they could do.
The game had a slow start, with the first real chance of the match coming to Deportivo. A shot from outside the box was saved well by Moya, who managed to parry the ball clear.
Atleti looked to be getting into their stride shortly after, when a stunning cross from Arda Turan was met by the head of our mid-week hat-trick hero Mario Mandzukic, but the Croatian could only steer it onto the goalkeeper’s left-hand post.
The pressure continued and it was our young defender Jose Gimenez who almost gave us the lead, but his head was met with the fist of Fabricio, Deportivo’s goalkeeper.
Fabricio showed some nerves early on, failing to deal with back-passes efficiently and letting himself panic under pressure from the Atleti forwards.
Deportivo grew in confidence as the first half went on. The Galicians were happy to counter attack when given the opportunity, and they had a lot more attacking ideas going forward than Olympiacos did at the weekend.
Atleti weren’t having a great game. Passes were misplaced, long-balls overhit and the emotion was getting the better of them. Mandzukic was booked early on for dissent, and Simeone was warned about his behaviour on the sidelines by the referee following a particularly bad challenge on Arda Turan.
The atmosphere seemed to be having an effect on the players, as Koke, Arda and Juanfran all looked off their usual game. Our right-back especially couldn’t find the kind of crossing that put Olympiacos in such danger on Wednesday night.
However if you give Atleti too many free-kicks, and too many corners, then you are going to get punished. And it was from a set-piece that Atleti found the breakthrough just before half-time.
A free kick from the left wing, pumped in my Koke, was headed on excellently by Mario Mandzukic. The flick-on found a waiting Saul on the edge of the six-yard box, waiting patiently to head the ball into the back of the net. It’s the 19-year-old’s second goal in his 2 La Liga starts this season.
The second half started slower than the first, and Depor had a chance to equalise. However the second goal for Atlético confirmed all three points, and this came just 10 minutes into the second period.
A Saul shot was deflected over the bar, giving Atleti a valuable corner. Our maestro Koke whipped it in, and despite Godin and Gimenez going for it, it was cleared to the edge of the area.
Our Turkish wizard was on hand to fire the ball back into the box, and into the back of the net via a slight deflection from Diakite. It’ll go down as an Arda Turan goal.
Simeone felt safe at this point to make some changes, and almost immediately after the goal he replaced the cautioned Mario Mandzukic with an eager to impress Raul Jimenez.
Atleti continued to threaten, and Saul could have had his second. Arda got away from his marker with some masterful footwork and picks out Saúl, who’s header is comfortably saved by Fabricio.
Saul was taken off shortly after, replaced by Cristian Rodriguez for his token substitute appearance, but it wasn’t this sub that got the crowd cheering.
With 15 minutes to go, a ripple of applause spread throughout the Vicente Calderón when Alessio Cerci was warming up on the sideline.
Cholo gave the Italian the nod to replace Griezmann, and Cerci had the last quarter of an hour to impress in a side where he really hasn’t been given the opportunity following his big money move.
The ex-Torino man looked bright, with a couple of quick touches and passes, but couldn’t really create any danger as Atleti shut the game down.
He linked up with Raul Jiemenz to create a chance for their fellow substitute Cebolla, but the Uruguayan dragged his shot wide of Fabricio’s post.
The game finished 2-0, and Atleti will be happy with the three points, but concern will continue over the fate of the fan injured savagely before the match.
It has been confirmed that the Deportivo supporter thrown into the River Manzanares has lost his life.
Hooliganism has no place in football and Atlético and Deportivo need to take action against these so called ‘fans’.
|Arda Turan 55'|
|Estadio Vicente Calderón|
|30 November 2014|
|Raul Jimenez (58')|
|C Rodriguez (66')|
|Verdu Toche (77')|