La Liga: Deportivo 1 – 1 Atlético
Costly from Giménez mistake deprives Atleti of all three points
Atlético de Madrid faced a trip to the Riazor, home of Deportivo de la Coruña, after what many regarded as the standout performance of the season thus far in the 2-1 triumph over Valencia the previous weekend.
The Friday fixture signified a clash between this season’s two fiercest la Liga defences. The difficulty of the encounter was highlighted by Simeone during the week, who chose to trust in the same starting eleven he had presented against Valencia.
Both teams understood that a single mistake could be costly; leading to a tentative approach by either side that saw few chances in the initial thirty minutes. Jackson Martínez found himself in two dangerous situations but was disappointed to have both of these extinguished by alert centre back Sidnei.
On the 33rd minute a cross by Carrasco generated chaos that the Deportivo defence failed to clear, the ball found his way to the right foot of Tiago on the edge of the box that sent a bullet towards the bottom right hand corner; outstretched Deportivo keeper Germán Lux had no chance.
Tiago’s opener meant that eleven players have scored for the rojiblancos so far this season. In previous campaigns Atlético had been accused of relying heavily on their top strikers; a problem which seems to be a thing of the past with the squad bolstering an abundance of attacking possibilities.
Five minutes later, a well delivered corner by Koke found an unmarked Diego Godín in the penalty box; his header hitting the post. The rebound struck Antoine Griezmann who tried his best to direct it at goal but the ball found his way into the keeper’s hands.
The last kick of the first half was actually a diving header by Griezmann. A searching cross found the young Frenchman free on the far post but could not force the keeper to work before the teams made their way into the dugout.
The first half saw Atleti hold a 72% possession in what were a very calm first 45 minutes for the visitors. The second half began with Deportivo unable to creat any real danger and Atleti happy to sit back and attempt to pounce on the counter via de speed of Griezmann and Carrasco.
The 60th minute saw Cholo Simeone make his first substitution, introducing the daring Correa, in a like for like move, for Ferreira Carrasco. The Belgian had not found the same level of performance that he displayed against Valencia but remained a constant thorn for Deportivo down the left side, always eager to dribble past his marker.
On the 71st minute Jackson Martínez made way for Saúl Ñíguez in an attempt to regain possession and control over the game. The Colombian struggled to make an impact while he was on the field, his adaptation to the side continues and this performance should not cast a shadow over what have been clear improvements over the last weeks.
Five minutes had passed when disaster struck, what should have been a routine piece of defending by Giménez by sheltering the ball out of play or clearing, turned into a nightmare. Lucas Pérez was able to snatch the ball away from him close to the by line, calmly move away from the rushing Oblak and slot in the equaliser for the hosts. The young Uruguayan appeared distraught after his mistake.
Ten minutes to go before the final whistle and Simeone attempted to encourage his men to find the winner. The Argentinian chose to play his last card in an effort to obtain this on the 82nd minute by bringing in Torres in place of goalscorer Tiago.
On the 87th minute Deportivo came closest to going in front when Fajr attempted a curling shot to the top right hand corner of Jan Oblak’s goal; the shot had the Slovenian beaten but struck the woodwork to the delight of the players in red and white.
Deportivo chose at this point to sit back and attempt to repel the pressure from the rojiblancos until the referee brought the game to a conclusion.
Simeone dashed for the changing rooms with a disappointed look that was shared by all atleti fans. What seemed like a comfortable encounter during the first half turned more and more dangerous as the second half went on.
Giménez’s uncharacteristic mistake cost the colchoneros 2 points and being able to sleep at the top of la Liga table tonight. Because of his usual veteran-like performances we could be fooled into overly criticising his mistake, the reality is he is still developing and the surprise should be how few errors he commits at his age. He will only learn from this.
While there were some good performances from Tiago or Carrasco, it was a sub par showing from most players. The substitutions failed to improve this with Correa, Saúl and Torres having little to no impact once they were introduced.
Atletico could fall back to four points behind rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid by the end of the weekend. However, considering the fact that we have already faced last season’s top 6 this is not the worst situation to be in, a series of wins over the next couple of weeks would see our title contention efforts as strong as ever.
Next up the squad faces a long trip to Kazakhstan for the fourth game of this season’s Champions League group stages against Astana. Cholo Simeone will be looking for a strong response from his men and a return to Madrid full of momentum and energy for the next la Liga clash against Sporting de Gijón at the Calderón.
|Lucas Pérez 77'||Tiago 34'|
|30 October 2015|
|Luis Alberto (69')|