La Liga: Córdoba 0 – 2 Atlético

Atlético back to third after inflicting Cordoba's tenth straight defeat

Saúl celebrates scoring Atlético's second goal

Saúl celebrates scoring Atlético's second goal

Atlético Madrid returned to third place in La Liga on Saturday afternoon with a deserved 2-0 victory over bottom side Córdoba in southern Spain.

With Valencia due to play Villarreal tomorrow, Atleti knew that today was a must-win, and that they could move into third for 24 hours at least. Diego Simeone called this game the first of ten ‘cup-finals’. Atleti delivered.

A mistake from Zuculini set up the first goal for Atlético inside five minutes. The midfielder was caught in possession and gave the ball away to a breaking Antoine Griezmann.

The Frenchman dragged the defender wide and placed the ball with his left foot into the bottom corner of the Córdoba goal from outside the box.

It should certainly have been 2-0 to the champions a few minutes later, after an excellent Griezmann cross was met in the air by Diego Godín, but the Uruguayan defender could only head it straight at the goalkeeper from six yards out.

Our young Frenchman was again causing trouble, after he saw Córdoba goalkeeper Juan Carlos straying away from his line. He fired a low shot towards the goalkeeper’s post, but the goalkeeper managed to get back and take the ball out for an Atlético corner.

Córdoba did have some of the ball in the first half an hour, with Bebe looking particularly dangerous trying to link up with Andone up front.

Simeone made a decision to rest Arda Turan and instead start Saúl, who was fit again after his horrible injury against Leverkusen in February.

It was a decision that paid off, as it was the young Spaniard who made it 2-0 to the champions just six minutes before half-time.

A set-piece right off of the training ground. A Jesús Gámez long throw in to the box was headed on by a waiting Giménez, only for Saúl to rise up and head the ball into the far corner of the net. Atleti lead by two.

Despite being ahead, Atlético weren’t dominating possession. In fact the hosts had 60% of the ball in the first half, but couldn’t convert this into a single shot on target.

Another long throw in the second half almost caught Córdoba out, but the home side were lucky as Griezmann was flagged for offside after an overhead kick attempt.

Córdoba registered their first shot on target six minutes into the second half, but it was a weak header that barely tested Oblak from a tight angle.

Ghilas almost got another rare shot on target a few minutes later after some good footwork in the box. Giménez managed to throw himself in front of the shot from a player that scored twice against Atleti at the Calderón earlier this season.

Atleti are just happy to let Córdoba try to build attacks, wait for their mistakes and play on the counter-attack.

Mandzukic was taken off after an hour and replaced with Fernando Torres. The Croatian didn’t have the best of games and looked disinterested at times, just walking when there was play going on nearby him.

El Niño came on and was very quickly busting a gut to close down Juan Carlos when he had the ball, to the delight of the Atleti fans.

Arda Turan entered the match after 70 minutes, with Simeone deciding to rest Griezmann ahead of Tuesday’s tie with his former club Real Sociedad.

Atleti were happy to play a bit of keep ball as the game closed down, shutting down the odd Córdoba attack before they had a chance to threaten or even get near goal.

That didn’t stop Bebe though, who decided to take matters into his own hands and crack a strike against the crossbar from 30 yards out. Oblak was nowhere near it and was glad to see it hit the woodwork and get clear.

The ex-Manchester United player had another opportunity a couple of minutes later, but whipped his free kick from distance into the side netting.

Godín had another chance to score for Atlético following a Koke corner, but his bullet header was saved well from Juan Carlos, his nemesis for the afternoon.

With 84 minutes of the game gone, after having nothing to do all game, Oblak made the best save of the match. A free kick from Córdoba was lifted into the box, and flicked on high and over Oblak. The Slovenian backtracked, arched his back and batted the ball away.

Atlético closed the game out with little fuss, and turn their attentions toward Tuesday’s match with Real Sociedad. Juanfran was booked, so he will be absent for this.

Who was your Man of the Match? What did you make of Mandzukic’s performance?

Córdoba Atlético Madrid
Córdoba 0 2 Atlético Madrid
 Griezmann 4'
 Saúl 39'
Competition Liga BBVA
Location Nuevo Arcángel
Date 04 April 2015
Kick Off 18:00 CET

Team Lineups

Juan Carlos
Fidel (64')
Zuculini (45')
Andone (45')
Substitutes used
Ghilas (45')
Cartabie (45')
Heldon (64')
Atlético Madrid
Tiago (45')
Griezmann (70')
Mandzukic (62')
Substitutes used
Mario Suárez (45')
Fernando Torres (62')
Arda Turan (70')

Match Stats

On Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
  • Urban

    Tiago was glorious in the first half and the best confirmation of his impact on this game was the fact that once he went off our play got immediately much worse.

    Overall an efficient display, we got 3 pts we needed without too much sweat. Now we have to keep our fingers crossed for the Yellow Submarine.

    Really happy for Griezmanns and Sauls goals, I think they both needed them.

  • Randy Ved Jawahir

    Mandzukic was in and out of the game, would have loved to see him score but he did what he could do. My MOTM is Gamez. Played really well defensively and going forward he caused a potent threat with his dribbles and threatening crosses. Another good performances from the youths in Gimenez and Saul. Tiago was foundation to support the house in midfield once again, Gabi didnt pick up a yellow card (which for me is a big achievement) and played well doing the basics right, Koke had a good game, Everyone was impressive. On the next one vs Sociedad
    Vamos a Ganar! #PartidoAPartido #Aupa Atleti!

  • Abdil Egriøz

    Terrible perfomance by Mandzukic against a bottom side. Showed no will, no spirit, no work-ehtic. We seriously need a better striker than him and I’ve felt this way from the beginning of the campaign. He is no doubt one of the best headers in the world but it would be much better to have a versatile attacker that can run, dribble, head, shoot and pass the ball…

  • Villarreal have been very inferior to Sevilla and Valencia this season, lost all 4 games vs Sevilla, and lost their home game vs Valencia 1-3
    Beautiful football is not everything .. and what good of beautiful football if you have a very bad habit of scoring own goals and giving away very silly penalties !

    I would be surprised (but very happy) if they got at least a draw

  • Chewie

    Granada, what the hell – and how can you seriously trust the statistics after a game where Ronaldo scores 5? I’d rather have 18 teams than allow this to happen. Poor bastards. And big thanks to Villarreal, now we’re back where we belong.

  • Kris

    I guess you are surprised…

  • Kris

    Telling you man,, these teams are terrible. You can’t NOT defend against big teams. You have to have the whole team defending or else you’re almost certainly going to get raped. I am glad Cholo figured this out very early.

  • And that what I kept repeating over and over : Valencia & Sevilla are not that strong, but La Liga is very weak
    but the answers were always the same : you are underestimating both of them

    Many people changed their mind and considered La Liga strong and competitive after we won the title last season, and after Valencia & Sevilla started to win many points this season, well, guess what :
    Both Barca & Madrid got 89 pts last season, enough to win any other 20-team league in the world in most of the seasons
    Beside, the league is not just 5 teams, it is 20

    There are 22 pts gap between the 4th team in La Liga (Valencia) and the 8th (Athletic), while in EPL it’s 15, in Bundesliga 13, in Ligue 1 it’s 10 & in Serie A it’s 8 pts
    We can make many comparisons between La Liga and the other top leagues in many different aspects, and in all of them La Liga will have the worst numbers, and this have nothing to do with Real & Barca being too big, if we took them out of the comparisons the results will stay the same

    Levante 0-5 Barca, Barca 6-0 Granada, Barca 5-1 Sevilla, Barca 5-1 Espanyol, Barca 5-0 Cordoba, Elche 0-6 Barca
    Barca 5-0 Levante, Barca 6-1 Rayo
    Depor 2-8 RM, RM 5-1 Elche, RM 5-0 Athletic, Levante 0-5 RM, RM 5-1 Rayo, RM 9-1 Granada
    9 teams have scored less than 29 goals after 29 games :
    Getafe, Eibar, Levante, Elche, Deportivo, Almeria, Granada, Cordoba & Athletic

    La Liga is a joke, and as El Cholo said in 2012-13 : it is boring .. who enjoys a 9-1 game ?!!
    18 teams or even 16 teams seem enough, until they finally find a solution for the TV distribution saga

    But I feel very sorry for Abel Resino though, our legendary GK who still holds the record of the longest clean sheets in La Liga with 1275 minutes, and the coach who saved us in 2008-09 after the sanction of Aguirre after a horrible campaign, and with just 17 games left he managed to lead us to the 4th spot and the CL with a historical 4-3 win against the Hexacampeon Barcelona and with an impressive 8 wins in the last 9 games, but the only defeat in those 9 games was also a very embarrassing one, 5-1 against Racing Santander !

  • Honestly, I am
    With no disrespect to Villarreal, but I feel that they get “bullied” against the very tough -and some could say violent- Valencia & Sevilla

    But I am much more happy than I am surprised .. we should NEVER let go of the 3rd spot again

  • Chewie

    I wish you were a spokesperson for sanity in La Liga.

  • Many people are speaking, but nobody is listening
    I mean a club like Athletic -who scored just 27 goals in 29 games this season- are AGAINST the collective selling and the more fair sharing of TV money, because the other clubs will be able to sign many good players while they can’t because of their “tradition” of not signing players from out side the Basque
    So, they are basically saying : it’s better for our club if everybody stays poor
    Now what can anybody say after such logic !!!

    Spain is very sick .. and not just in football, but in too many other things