La Liga: Atlético 2 – 1 Eibar

Red and whites get off the mark in La Liga but fail to shine

The pre-match display in the Calderón (pic: official site)

The pre-match display in the Calderón (pic: official site)

Atlético Madrid slumbered to an unconvincing 2-1 win over newly promoted Eibar on Saturday night, as Diego Simeone served the first of a four match ban in our opening home match of the new La Liga season.

Goals from João Miranda and Mario Mandžukić made sure of the three points in the first half, although the game will not live long in the memory as the Colchoneros turned in a very under-par performance.

Before the match, Atleti were finally presented with the La Liga trophy some 105 days after triumphing in Barcelona, with an impressive display in the Fondo Sur to commend the Spanish champions unveiled by a vibrant home crowd.

However, it was Eibar who started the stronger, showing the no fear attitude that has earned them so many admirers since winning promotion both to Segunda and Primera over the last couple of seasons.

As manager Gaizka Garitano has demonstrated, the Basque minnows will not be giving respect to anyone, but Atleti, in typical merciless fashion, soon punished all of their early endeavour.

For opposing teams, you know that it’s coming but very rarely can you stop it, as a classic pairing combined to open the scoring. An outswinging Koke corner was met with aplomb by Miranda at the front post, and via the aid of the crossbar it was 1-0 Atleti.

Soon that lead was doubled, again from a set-piece as the Calderón heralded their new number nine and his first goal in league competition. This time Gabi was the provider, his perfect free-kick delivery only needing contact from Mario Mandžukić for it to be 2-0. As you would expect, the Croatian duly obliged.

It looked for all the world as if the Rojiblancos would run away with it, but in truth that was probably as good as it would get for Atleti over the whole 90 minutes. Many teams would roll over in this situation, but Eibar continued to play their football and would be rewarded for it.

Last week, a stunning Javi Lara free-kick won them their curtain raiser at home to Real Sociedad, and the 28 year-old nearly repeated the trick on the half hour mark if not for a smart Moya save. The former Getafe stopper has looked solid so far, but he could do nothing about the goal that reduced the deficit just a couple of minutes later.

Breaking down Atleti from open play has been a thankless task for some of the best team’s in Europe since Simeone came in, but the La Liga newcomers did it with ease and after a fluid move down the left, the ball was laid on a plate for Abraham Minero to curl the ball into the top corner.

All of a sudden the ball was in Eibar’s court, as they began asking the questions and looking the more likely to get the next goal. Raúl García, called up to the Spain squad for the first time yesterday, saw a deflected effort tipped onto the post just before half-time, but that would be the last real chance from open play that the home side we could get.

The second period resembled many of the games we saw at the tail end of last season, where a clearly fatigued team would just do what they could to get over the line and claim the three points. At this stage in the season though, there really should be no excuse.

Again, the visitors were on top, and although they didn’t carve out many real clear-cut scoring chances, it made for uncomfortable viewing for Simeone and the fans in the crowd, who grew more and more agitated as the minutes went on.

New signings Mandžukić and Antoine Griezmann were both withdrawn before the last 20 minutes, and with that went the last of the whimpering attacking threat, bar a few long range efforts towards the end.

In the closing stages, Garitano’s side did get a sight of goal as striker Ángel found himself in between Godín and Miranda, but luckily Siqueira came in at the last minute to divert the ball behind for a corner. With just four minutes left on the clock, it was a huge let off, and also a very uncharacteristic lapse in concentration from our backline.

You could hear the relief around the stadium when the referee’s whistle finally sounded for full-time, and Eibar will most likely have felt disappointed that ultimately they could not get something at the home of the reigning champions.

Missing the energetic encouragement of Simeone on the sidelines for a second match running, the performance was again very drab, devoid of any spark or real creativity from open play in particular.

On Monday, the team had the excuse of having to play just days after a highly intense Super Cup aggregate win over Real Madrid, but can’t put down their inability to perform in the season’s first home game after almost a full week off.

The team will still need time to gel as there are a fair few new faces, but concerns are not unfounded, especially with another trip to the Bernabéu coming up after the International break.

In the end, we got the job done but nobody will have left the Calderón fully satisfied, or in the same bouyant mood as ahead of kick-off. Two days remain until the transfer window slam shut, will the club look to re-inforce our options and address the current problems the team has?

Line-up: Moya; Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Siqueira; Gabi, Mario Suárez, Koke, Raúl García; Griezmann (“60 Raúl Jiménez) and Mandžukić (“67 Saúl).

Goals: 1-0 Miranda (“11); 2-0 Mandžukić (“25); 2-1 Abraham (“34)

Atlético Madrid Eibar
Atlético Madrid 21 Eibar
Miranda 11'Abraham 34'
Mandzukic 25' 
Competition Liga BBVA
Location Vicente Calderón
Date 30 August 2014
Kick Off 21:00 CET

Team Lineups

Atlético Madrid
Raul Garcia
Mario Suarez
Griezmann (60')
Mandzukic (67')
Substitutes used
Saul (60')
Raul Jimenez (67')
Capa (62')
Arruabarrena (73')
Dani Garcia
Substitutes used
Dani Nieto (62')
Manu (73')
Perez (82')

Match Stats

On Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
  • Ahmad Hossainy

    an ugly win, but ugly wins gave us La Liga title last season

    *We all have been talking about lacking creativity for a very long time, and we still can’t fix that problem, because (and this is what many people forget) creative midfielders and wingers cost much more than strikers
    Costa 38M, Mandzukic 22, Lukaku 35 … but Bale 100, Di Maria 75, James 80
    and we can’t afford neither their transfer fees nor their salaries, we are lucky just to be able to keep the only one we have, Arda Turan

    even Koke is not that kind of players, maybe Grizi can offer us some solutions but he still needs some time
    and because Arda missed all the 4 games we played so far we appeared in that poor shape
    and since he gets injured many times in the season, we really need another creative player, maybe we could get him in these last 2 days, Cerci deal could be finally sealed after a very long rumors, or we could get Shaqiri on loan

    *Mandzukic is a totally different player than Costa, he doesn’t have his pace, he can’t create many chances for himself, and he is not fast enough to score from counterattacks like Costa used to do too many times
    BUT he is a goalscorer, he can score from half chances, and I have no doubt that he will score at least 25 goals in all competitions this season

    *Raul Jimenez still didn’t give us anything yet, but remember that when Costa was 1 year older than him and has spent 5 years in Spain he was loaned to Rayo

    *When there was a majority against Raul Garcia, there were still some few people defending him and believing in him,
    but I don’t think there is a single person who likes Mario Suarez

    *Some people were happy when they heard that ManUtd are ready to pay 30 M for Miranda, they thought that 30 M for a 30-year old defender is a great deal … they were wrong
    I can’t wait for these 2 days left in the transfer window to pass to be 100% sure that Miranda is staying

  • starvs

    Think these lack luster performances boil down to three main things.

    1) No Arda, lack the creativity, and it stagnates in the second half when we can’t press as crazily.
    2) Mario not good enough
    3) Cholo not on the sideline to drive the intesnsity

    Getting Arda back will solve a lot of the problem, hopefully, but as everyone knows/has said he has an injury history so isn’t so reliable and has no real backup. Tiago needs to play next to Gabi, thank god he didn’t god to Chelsea, Saul will overtake Mario soon?

  • Avraham Cohen

    I think the problem is Griezmann. He is suppose to be the creative player but he doesn’t play with confidence. I don’t think Mandzukic is the problem, in my opinion he is very good.

  • Adnan Khan

    I don’t know about that, but i think griezmann is having a little bit of trouble in fitting in the “simeone way”. He is not used to play so defensive as an attacker. In sociedad he had a free role and he did not have to press the opponents all the time. Here it looks like he use up all of his energy pressing and when he finally get the ball he doesn’t go on raidd or are too tired. I guess he will be used to it soon, but one thing is for sure, he won’t be scoring as many goals as he did in sociedad. But i hope he does.

  • Kris

    He will score goals, maybe not as many, but he definitely will be scoring vital goals for us. As seen yesterday, he was given the free role during the game when things weren’t going right, and he does great in the free role. That’s where he plays best, and I hope Simeone realizes that soon. But of course, he is going to have to defend a LOT, and press even MORE. He is going to gel in soon. Just give him time.

  • Kris

    Seems like Atletico Madrid will complete Alessio Cerci’s signing tomorrow, as he is set for a medical tomorrow in the morning. Atleti are signing him with the help of (ughhhhh) The Doyen Group and Mendes, of course.

    Jose Manuel Jurado might also be the other player to sign for Atletico before the transfer deadline. If these two signings go through, our depth goes from being average to being world class, imo. JSM is a former Atletico player (signed from Real Madrid), who broke through in 2006 for Atletico and impressed the coaches during his time. I don’t know if he will be good enough to be a starter but will definitely give us more options in the bench.

  • Adnan Khan

    “I guess he will be used to it soon, but one thing is for sure, he won’t be scoring as many goals as he did in sociedad. But i hope he does.”
    As i said he will score goals but not as much in real sociedad. And yes he will gel in and get used to the pressing as the time goes 🙂

  • Mrtn

    griezman is not a typical creative midfielder.
    he is a winger with very good skills, fantastic speed and quite good vision.
    he is not the player who can provide killer last passes all the time, also he isn’t a clinical finisher.
    He is an extremely good winger, and we should use him like that.
    We shouldn’t play too creative game, all we got to do is to cross the ball on Mandzukic’ head at least 10 times a game and he will surely score tons of goals.
    If Cerci really comes, than we really should exploit the flanks much-much more.
    We got 2 extremely good headers up front in Mandzukic and RG (also Jimenez seems to be good) and we got 2 extremely good headers back in Miranda and Godin.
    The 2 goals scored from dead-ball situations last night showed how impportant this aspect of the game is, and we should take advantage of the strength of our players.
    I don’t expect a nice game this season (not that last years game was such a wonder in terms of creative play…), I just want thousands of crosses, corners and free kicks.

  • Adnan Khan

    Haha, Real madrid lost their first game this season against sociedad and what a player Carlos Vela is. Wish he was a atletico player.

  • atletico-palestine

    Oliver torres scored today.
    Any one can send the link plz to watch the goal

  • Kris

    Yes, it was a simple tap in for him but I am very happy he got his first goal.

  • BlasiusMagnus

    wtf man… thats sweet. i was in bed surfin channels, and saw that real is winning for 0-2. i tought, “fuck, they will win again”. and now i see its 4-2 for sociedad.
    wow, just wow! congrats to sociedad.

  • Chewie

    Manquillo also had a great game yesterday with Liverpool fending off the big and pacy attackers.