La Liga: Atlético 3 – 1 Rayo Vallecano

Griezmann steals the spotlight again as Atleti beat neighbours

Griezmann with a brace against Rayo

Griezmann with a brace against Rayo

Antoine Griezmann put in a fantastic performance to ensure Atlético Madrid ran out 3-1 winners over Madrid rivals Rayo Vallecano at the Vicente Calderón on Saturday evening.

Two goals early in the first half put Atleti in a good position to see out the rest of the match, and despite a goal back from Rayo, the game never looked in doubt as the champions went on to secure a third and all three points.

The first chance of the match fell to Mandzukic, who started up front alongside our French superstar. A free-kick from Gabi was hung up nicely into the area but the Croatian striker could only head wide of the goal.

Mandzukic looked certain to make it 1-0 a couple of minutes later, after the Rayo defence had a melt-down and gave the ball away to a waiting Arda Turan. The Turk fluffed his pass back to the waiting striker, who must have already been celebrating a tap-in in his head.

Atleti didn’t have to wait long for the opening goal however, and it came courtesy of another gift from the Rayo Vallecano defence.

Trying to be too clever at the back was always going to get the visitors into trouble, and when Griezmann intercepted a short pass meant for Ze Castro, they got their just desserts.

The Frenchman burst forward into a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, and there was absolutely no doubt of the end result. He opened his body and smashed it to the right of the goalkeeper, who could only watch as the ball hit the back of the net. 11 minutes in, 1-0 to Atleti.

Griezmann had his second ten minutes later, when a clever Mandzukic flick-on put the ex-Sociedad man one-on-one with the goalkeeper again. He took a couple of touches before toe-poking the ball past an on-rushing Toño to make it 2-0. The Vallecano defence should have done better.

Atleti looked to be running away with it, but they took their foot off the pedal after scoring the second. With ten minutes to go until half-time, the visitors got a goal back through Trashorras.

The Spaniard was passed the ball on the edge of Atleti’s 18-yard box, and Giménez and Miranda were slow to close him down. The Rayo midfielder took a step sideways and then curled the ball perfectly inside Miguel Angel Moya’s left-hand post. 2-1.

Against the run of play, the goal seemed to shock Atleti back into life, and they almost had their third goal of the afternoon shortly after. Antoine Griezmann, after cutting inside from the left-wing, had time to stop and pick out a cross for the waiting Mario Mandzukic.

However the Frenchman mishit the cross, and the ball took a wicked swerve and almost flew into Toño’s goal. It was almost a comical goal, if it had gone in.

Atleti did have their third goal not long after half-time, and although the Atleti players ran to congratulate José Giménez, it will go down as a Manucho own-goal.

The corner in from Griezmann was flicked on at the near post by Mario Suarez, and fizzed past the waiting Uruagayan defender. Before he could stick out a leg, the ball bounced up off the thigh of Manucho and into the back of the Rayo net, restoring Atleti’s two-goal cushion.

Despite restoring the advantage, there was no way Griezmann wasn’t going to give his all to secure the second hat-trick of the season. Not 20 seconds after the restart and Antoine was clear on goal, but he scuffed a shot wide of Toño’s left-hand post.

While Atleti were creating the majority of the chances, it was Rayo who should have scored the next goal of the game. Bueno was through on goal after a Trashorras pass caught Miranda sleeping, but the striker couldn’t get enough purchase on the shot and Moya smothered the ball.

Fernando Torres replaced Mario Mandzukic, but if anyone was going to get the next goal, it was going to be our 23-year-old Frenchman.

Griezmann picked up the ball in midfield and burst towards goal, dribbling through a number of Rayo defenders. A little stepover let him cut inside and fool the centre-back, but the Frenchman’s aim was ever so slightly off, as his shot into the opposite corner cannoned off of the post and back into play.

He had one more chance to claim his hat-trick, but the striker unselfishly played in Fernando Torres to get his first league goal since returning to the club on his 250th Atleti appearance.

However Torres tried to beat Toño with a delicate touch, and the keeper managed to get a body part behind it. Raul Garcia tried to revive the chance, but the goalkeeper took it into his grateful arms.

The match ended 3-1, and Atleti will now turn their attention to the Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg on Wednesday, against Barcelona.

Who was your man of the match? What did you make of our players’ performances?

Atlético Madrid Rayo Vallecano
Atlético Madrid 31 Rayo Vallecano
Griezmann 12'Trashorras 35'
Griezmann 22' 
Manucho (og) 56' 
Competition Liga BBVA
Location Vicente Calderón
Date 24 January 2015
Kick Off 20:00 CET

Team Lineups

Atlético Madrid
Mario Suarez
Arda Turan (80')
Mandzukic (70')
Substitutes used
Fernando Torres (70')
Raul Garcia (80')
Rayo Vallecano
Abdoulaye Ba
Ze Castro
Fatau (72')
Kakuta (83')
Jozabed (57')
Substitutes used
Pozuelo (57')
Bueno (72')
Moreno (83')

Match Stats

On Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
  • Ahmad Musa

    Griezmann surely deserved it. Looking forward for the same results against Barcelona but different performances.

  • Last December, Chelsea were playing against Derby County in Capital One and Filipe Luis scored a great goal from a free-kick
    I don’t remember him taking any free-kick in his 4 season with Atleti, and that made me think :
    Is Simeone tying his players with his tactics ?! Could they be better if they had a little more freedom ?!
    And I asked myself the same question tonight after seeing what Grizi is capable of, could he be more effective if he played more on the wings as he likes to ?!
    Could Gabi score directly from free-kicks – like he did a lot with Zaragoza – if El Cholo allowed him to shoot directly on target ?!
    I know Simeone’s way is what brought us 5 titles, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enhanced, does it ?!

    I like Moya, and he did much more than anybody expected or even asked for since he came for only 3 million and as the second GK, but in some of the difficult goals he conceded like the one last night, I think several GKs could have saved them, and maybe Oblak is one of them

    Again, back to the late subs and to not using all 3 of them
    Saul & Jimenez (the last wasn’t even on the bench) should have had some minutes tonight, they both are having very few minutes, both are young and promising and need minutes to grow, adapt and gain confidence, and both are clients of Mendes and if they are not happy he will take them away in a snap of his fingers, and for the fewest possible amount of money

    Remember when a player like Ze Castro was a regular in a big club like Atletico ?!
    Those were days we wish they never comback

  • BlasiusMagnus

    ze castro is just as shaky and clumsy as a few years ago, when he played here.

  • dircil
    this guy can come cheap for atletico. He’s given Real’s defence a hard time yesterday. Imagine we’re playing with Griezmann and this guy on both flanks, that would be catastrophic!

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    Griezmann deserved the motm award.
    However I have quite a few complaints as Juanfran was awful,so was Arda, Mario as usual passes poorly, Jiminez has not been given a chance and I don’t like Moya in bar ahead of Oblak. This isn’t the first game that these complaints come to light either and I’m sick of it, for heavens sake Saul and Jiminez should have STARTED, rotation was a problem last season and the excuse was that we lacked quality on the bench so can some one tell me what the excuse for our lack of rotation is this season? Ahmad all of your points are valid an

  • Chewie

    I saw Filipe’s fantastic free-kick and read comments of Chelsea fans who had first been sceptical about him, but then recognised in him an ‘elite left-back’. He was our biggest loss that still causes problems. With Filipe, we would have much more clean sheets.

    There is a point in Simeone’s conservatism and strict discipline – he wants the players to adhere to the plan unconsciously, habitually, so that would do their job an autopilot. But I can’t see he won’t let Gabi or Koke shoot a direct free-kick.

    It’s hard to compare Moya with Oblak based on what they’ve showed so far. Oblak seems to be more talented, while Moya has a good long pass, he’s usually good at choosing the right position, more calm and confident. Though he sometimes acts quite poorly, like yesterday, for example, when he ran to the ball that was controlled by Miranda and Gimenez completely.

    I’m not so sure about the goal – it was a very difficult shot that bounced off the ground and was placed millimeters from the post. I wouldn’t blame Moya at all and I wouldn’t claim that Oblak or anyone could make a save.

  • Bloc Party

    Firstly, you’re looking at things from only one point of view. Yes, maybe Gabi or Filipe could’ve scored some free kicks if they were allowed to kick directly in the goal but would it be more efficient than curling it in like we do now? Just Koke has 6 assists from set pieces this season and Gabi should have some too. Are you sure that Gabi or anybody else would’ve had scored this many goals from free kicks? Even Messi and Cristiano score 1 from every 15 free kicks.

    Maybe Oblak could’ve saved that shot. He made such good saves against RM. But even in those matches he was so shaky, unsure when to come off the line, how to handle set pieces. Would that one save be worth the confidence that Moya brings to us?

    Saul and Jimenez may be Mendes’s players but the third part ownership in both cases does not accede 50%. Therefore we are able to keep them as long as we wish despite their claims.

    And as for Grizzy… You’re most mistaken in his case. Right now he IS showing his best in the middle where he can move to the flanks, change places with Arda and be more dangerous, have wider scope of influence, be more unexpectable and just contribute more. Yes he does have pace and skills of a winger but to use him only on wings would be such a waste because of his brilliant quick mind. Now he has scored same amount of goals that he scored last year in Sociedad. That shows statistically how much he’s grown since last season. And not only that – currently he’s a core of our offence, he’s both Messi and Cristiano for our team and that’s only due to Cholo who thought of moving him in the middle time by time.

    Cholo knows what he’s doing. Sometimes I do think maybe he’s wrong and sometimes maybe he IS wrong (not using any subs in Turin and then letting the same starting XI play in La Liga which clearly did cost us points), but not in these cases. We’re playing our best.

  • Chewie

    Agreed, I can’t see Griezmann playing more effectively than the does now. I mean, the man could score 4 goals last night, and even so, he scored two and made an assist. He basically won the match for us.

  • Adnan Khan

    This video did not give justice to him. But he indeed is a promising player. But i would rather see correa on the flank with griezmann 😉

  • Adnan Khan

    Saul has been playing so well this season. I don’t even remember one poor game from him this season. He is actually ready to be a starter in the first squad already. If not a starter then give him atleast one game on One off or something like that.

  • I love when I get many and long replies, even if they disagree with me, they make the website look alive, while in some days I feel embarrassed for the website and for the club from the lack of comments

    Chewie :
    -Letting them take a free-kick every once in a while is not good enough

    -About Moya, my point is that we need a world class GK if we want to compete in the highest levels, a GK who is able to save impossible shots like the one last night, I don’t think Moya is that guy, Oblak MAYBE could be, but we need to see him play much more to know
    if we couldn’t make a comeback vs Barca next Wednesday, would it be the last time we see Oblak this season, or would Simeone give him more chances in La Liga & The CL ?!

    Bloc Party :
    -The free-kicks were just an example, waiting for 5 or 6 months last season to score our first goal from outside the box and the lack of the “goalzos” we used to see from Forlan, Simao, Maxi & Reyes are other examples
    I’m not saying that the golazos are better than the trophies we won with Simeone’s way, but if it is possible to have both, why not ?!

    -And about the free-kicks themselves :
    Koke & Gabi make about 6 assists each from free-kicks every season, but Gabi used to score directly from free-kicks about 5 times every season with Zaragoza, but he yet to score once with Atleti, and in many situations, a direct shot is more convenient than Simeone’s strategies
    while Koke never scored from a free-kick in his career, and never will if he never take any
    Speaking of Gabi with Zaragoza, he had a 100% record in penalties there, but Simeone kept insisting on Costa last season despite wasting many of them (how much were they, 4 or 5 ?!)

    – Even if Meneds wasn’t involved at all with Saul & Jimenez, and even if they were very happy, they still need to play more and WE NEED them to play more
    Valencia are just 3 points behind us, and while we are playing in 3 competitions, they only have La Liga

    Usually, Simeone does know what he is doing, but in some cases, he has no idea
    He is not a saint, if he is, he wouldn’t play Costa in the CL final just to be substituted after few minutes after doing the same thing one week before against Barca and losing a very important substitution, he would have rotated a little more so that our players could have had more gasoline in that final instead of seeing a couple of them limping in the whole extra time

    We all love Simeone .. but I think we still can love him much more

  • Bloc Party


    I’m by no means against direct free-kick golazos, I’m just saying that no matter how good the kicker or a position to kick is, there’s still a very little chance of scoring. Say Gabi has scored 5 free kicks in Zaragoza, is there any statistic about how many free kicks it took him to score these goals? And while he tries his luck the better option of curling it in the box where 3-4 decent heads are waiting is wasted. I do believe i saw both Koke and Gabi take a direct free kick this season but I can’t remember in which match it was so I won’t bet on it. Anyhow, if i were Cholo, indeed, I wouldn’t have abolished direct free kicks at all but would surely insist on taking more indirect free kicks as they have many times proved to be far more effective.

    About the penalties I suppose you are right about the last season but not in this one – after Siqueira’s blowing our chance of comeback on Mestalla, he has used Raul Garcia and Mandzukic for this role and they are yet to miss one. And to me it really doesn’t matter is the kicker Gabi, Raul Garcia or even Oblak as long as the penalty is well shot.

    I agree that Cholo needs to rotate players more and I myself would love to see Saul on the pitch more. But you still have to give credit to Cholo who did his best to give enough minutes to Mario Suarez which prevented his departure to Italy and rotation in front – Mandzu, Grizzy, Torres and Raul Garcia have all been given enough minutes (well may be unfair to Jimenez but if he works more I’m sure he’ll get more minutes) and in the back – in between Miranda and Gimenez. And Oblak does need to seem more confident to become our #1.

    To your last point – I completely agree that playing Costa in the final did turn out to be a fatal decision for us. But why do you forget his other decisions which proved to be simply ingenious, say playing Adrian against Chelsea and Barca? If we had lost that match, I am so sure that all the blame would have been burdened on Simeone as he could’ve put somebody better on the pitch. However it did prove to be a great choice. The opposite team didn’t expect to see Adrian and their plans were simply not of any use anymore. And Cholo tried to do the same in the final as Costa was said to be unable to play. Yes, he did gamble when putting Costa in the starting line up and it did turn out to be a fatal mistake, but it does not mean that he didn’t have any idea what he was doing as you suggest. Cholo was trying his luck once more and had we been strong for 3 more minutes, had Costa been able to play for some more time or contribute something important to the team, nobody on earth would take it as a mistake. You can’t just say he didn’t have any idea what he was doing – he was gambling and it turned out bad. But didn’t he have a right based on ‘previous gamblings?’

    We all love Simeone and I hope he’ll make us love even more! 😀

  • starvs

    Not playing Saul at all, when we were up 2 goals, at home, and had Mario, Tiago, and Gabi on the field was just dumb. The kid needs minutes to get better.

  • If I wanted to talk about how great Simeone is, I will need 3 or 4 thousands words
    BUT I don’t think this is what we should write in our comments, everybody knows that, the comments should be about remarks and opinions, and the greatness of Simeone is not an opinion, it is an absolute fact
    I know many websites (sadly, most of them are Arabic) where most of the comments are about praising your team and your players and making fun of the opponents, and they get a scary amount of likes, that’s why I don’t visit them anymore and I barely tweet about Atleti in Arabic
    And that’s also why I love this website, because the great analysis and discussions I read here, and in fact, if I didn’t criticize Simeone, maybe me and all the readers wouldn’t have enjoyed your great comments

    That being said, now let me reply to some points of yours with more criticism for my beloved El Cholo :

    – I don’t have statistics about Gabi’s successful direct free-kicks, but I also don’t have statistics for our successful indirect ones, BUT I believe the percentages are very close, and more importantly, I can say with full confidence that for a free-kick very close to the 18-yard line, the possibility of scoring from a direct shot is much bigger than Simeone’s strategies
    And is it just me or did anybody else notice that our free-kicks and corners are much less effective lately than they used to be ?! .. I think our opponents are starting to figure them out, so Cholo must look for other attacking solutions

    – When I mentioned the “golazos” I didn’t mean those from free-kicks, but I meant those from open play
    We don’t see them anymore because our players rarely try to shoot on the target from outside the box because of Simeone’s strict tactics
    This is a very effective weapon we are wasting, and we have the players who can use it, Gbai for example who gave us very vital 4 points by his 2 missiles against Betis & Madrid last season
    but only 2 or 3 goals the whole season from only 4 or 5 attempts are very few

    – Simeone was FORCED to rotate
    He didn’t give Gimenez any real chance until Miranda got injured, I don’t know if you remember this, but when he got injured I wrote here that I’m happy, because now Gimenez will play and will play great, and Miranda will start being worried about his spot and will stop his ridiculous mistakes he kept doing form the start of this season because he felt very safe
    He started to give Mario more minutes only after Inter’s official arrived in Madrid to negotiate for him
    Should we wish that directors of Valencia -our rivals- come to Madrid as well to negotiate for Saul -since the rumors say they want him- so that Simeone would give him more minutes ?!
    Man, every time Oliver makes a great game with Porto I feel bad, because I can’t stop thinking if he can get his chance with us next season with the presence of Koke, Arda & Grizi, rather than Correa !
    with many coaches, Oliver great performance is a great news, but with Simeone, it is a big dilemma

    – From the start of this season, Mandzukic is our no. 1 penalty taker, and RG8 is no. 2
    what happened in Mestalla is that Siqueira asked Mandzu to take it, and with great manners and selflessness, he allowed him .. but he shouldn’t
    I don’t think Mandzu or RG8 will miss many penalties as Costa did last season, but the question is :
    if they did, will Simeone give the penalties to somebody else ?!
    I don’t know

  • And what dumber is to keep telling the kid after not playing him despite all those circumstances you mentioned :
    ” You are very important to us ”
    How should he believe you, Simeone ?!!

  • Bloc Party

    I’ll be as laconic as possible this time:

    1) I didn’t write my previous comment just to hail Cholo. I just offered his point of view, consistency.
    2) Those realization percentages are not even remotely close. Can’t find one for just Gabi though.
    3) Completely agree on shots from open play outside the box. Didn’t think you had that in mind in your previous comment, my bad 🙂
    4) Maybe Simeone was forced to rotate in December but January is over now and Gimenez is starting in La Liga fixtures. He wasn’t forced to make him a starter after Miranda’s return. It was his decision.
    I was mad at Cholo in the beginning about not using Cerci but I’m on his side now. If Saul, Mario Suarez, Oli and others work and impress the way Grizzy has, they’ll get at least a rotation like Gimenez if not a place in starting XI.
    5) I hope we’ll never know what would’ve happened in that case and our penaltists keep scoring in every occasion 😀

  • I’m sorry if I offended you, I didn’t mean that you were just hailing Simeone, I was just trying to say that Simeone’s qualities and accomplishments are not questionable nor deniable, so we don’t need to talk a lot about them, and we should instead talk about the very few things he lacks

    I really enjoyed this discussion

  • Bloc Party

    No, I didn’t feel offended and I really enjoyed the discussion as well 🙂
    I tried to be short as I realized that none of us were going to change the stand and further prolonging argument would be useless.
    Let’s see what issue comes up next time ^^

  • Oseibonsu peter

    ATM or de way