Copa del Rey: CE L’Hospitalet 0 – 3 Atlético
Atleti take control of the tie with 3-0 win in Catalonia
Atlético are in a strong position to qualify for the next round of the Copa del Rey after a 3-0 win over Segunda B side CE L’Hospitalet in Catalonia on Wednesday night.
It was a game played on a miserable pitch on a miserable night in northern Spain, and the result somewhat flatters the visitors after a very dull first half.
It was only when Antoine Griezmann was brought into the fray in the second half that things started to pick up.
This match provided the perfect opportunity to rest some of our key players, and give some of our fringe players their chance to shine. And Simeone certainly took the chance.
Jan Oblak, Alessio Cerci, Raúl Jimínez, Jesús Gámez, Cristian Rodriguez and Lucas all started for Atlético. Koke sat out his first match of the season, whilst it was an unfamiliar back line for the Spanish champions.
The first opportunity of the night fell to Saúl in the fourth minute, but the youngster smashed the ball wide of the L’Hospitalet goalkeeper’s right hand post.
The next half chance fell to the player on whom the spotlight was on tonight, Alessio Cerci, but the Italian was denied the opening goal after a great stop from the opposing keeper.
The ex-Torino man did look promising though, and set up a number of opportunities, despite them being few and far between in the first half.
Six minutes before half time he found himself on the edge of the area. Cerci cut in and tried to curl one into the far corner, but couldn’t quite get enough bend on it and it went out for a goal kick.
The best chance of the first half fell to Raúl Jiménez, who was also hoping for a positive performance. A lovely first touch by Cerci set up a cross on the half-volley, but Jiménez saw his header crash into the crossbar and go behind.
The game changed when Griezmann replaced Saúl, and the Frenchman had an immediate impact. A little interplay with Gabi found Griezmann outside the area on the left wing. He turned and fired a ferocious cross into the area – one with so much pace it curled up over the goalkeeper and slammed into the crossbar. It would have been the goal of the evening – but not by much.
Atleti were made to wait for the opening goal – much longer than they should have been. A dangerous Atleti corner was whipped in and after some pinball in the area, found its way to Griezmann, who passed across goal. José Giménez turned the ball in from close range, but it was wrongfully ruled as offside. A ridiculous decision considering there were at least 2 L’Hospitalet players defending on the goal-line.
Alessio Cerci had a couple of good touches in the second half, and his most impressive moment when he picked up the ball in his own half and showed some incredible speed with the ball to sprint to the other end of the pitch. However there were no Atleti players who made the trip with him, and the attack fizzled out.
The Italian was outdone by the talent of a certain Frenchman, and it was only ever going to be one person that opened the scoring.
A pinpoint cross in the 67th minute from the impressive Jesus Gamez found a leaping Antoine Griezmann, who steered a glancing header into the far corner. Finally Atleti had the lead.
What followed was a couple of L’Hospitalet attacks – none that forced Oblak into any difficult saves – and they never really looked like equalising.
It was a silly decision from the defender Fernandez that handed Atleti their second, after he pulled down Cerci in the penalty area. Gabi stepped up and confidently dispatched the spot kick to confirm the win for Atleti.
This seemed to give los rojiblancos a little bit of a spark, and they had the ball in the net again not a minute later.
A cross into the area from Cristian Rodriguez was slammed into the back of the net by Raúl Jiménez, who connected brilliantly with the ball with a fantastic volley. However because the ball flew by Cerci, who was judged to be in an offside position, it was disallowed.
Extremely disappointing for the Mexican, and it was another legit goal chalked off for Atlético.
Griezmann should have made it 3-0 in stoppage time, but a wondersave from the goalkeeper Oliver did enough to keep the ball out of the goal. I’m not sure how much he knew about it.
But despite the good work of the Frenchman, it was Cristian Rodriguez who got the last word of the night, after he scored a screamer with the last kick of the match. 25 yards out, it flew past Oliver with such venom that it would have took Raúl Jiménez head off had he not managed to move out of the way.
A victory in the end, but not the match we were all hoping for. It’s likely we will see the same starting lineup for the return leg at the Vicente Calderón, and we’ll be able to see just how good our backup players are under the lights in Madrid.
What did you make of our performance? Who was our best player? (Apart from Griezmann)
|CE L'Hospitalet||0 3||Atlético Madrid|
|Gabi (pen) 81'|
|C Rodriguez 90'|
|Copa del Rey|
|Estadi La Feixa Llarga|
|03 December 2014|