La Liga: Eibar 1 – 3 Atlético

Griezmann and Mandzukic on target as Atleti win in wet conditions

Rain-soaked conditions fail to stop a dominant Atleti (www.clubatleticodemadrid.com)

Rain-soaked conditions fail to stop a dominant Atleti (www.clubatleticodemadrid.com)

Atlético Madrid braved the rain-soaked conditions in Ipurua on Saturday night to come away with a 3-1 win against Eibar, a crucial three points ahead of next week’s derby against rivals Real.

Antoine Griezmann got the ball rolling early on with a well taken goal, and a Mario Mandzukic double made the game safe before half-time. Eibar pulled one back late on through Piovaccari, but the damage had already been done.

After exiting the Copa del Rey in an ill-tempered clash with Barcelona in midweek, the pressure was on Diego Simeone and his team to return to form against the La Liga newboys, and they did so in style with a very impressive performance.

Conditions in the tiny Estadio Municipal were appalling, heavy rain making the pitch almost impossible to play on but amazingly, the game was given the green light to go ahead.

However, the red and whites weren’t phased, and took control from the first whistle. On just seven minutes they were ahead, scoring in typical fashion through the combination of two players nurtured in the Basque Country.

Former Osasuna favourite Raúl García collected a long punt forward from Tiago, and got his head up to find the run of the in-form Antoine Griezmann, who made no mistake with an arrowed left-foot finish.

The Frenchman, signed from Real Sociedad in the summer, took his tally to 8 goals in 9 games, and has really come into his own this last month for the capital club.

Soon after he turned provider, helping his strike partner Mario Mandzukic get in on the act and double Atlético’s lead. After Saúl won the ball inside the box, Griezmann picked it up and played a perfect ball for the Croatian to convert for 2-0.

The visitors looked to be relishing the conditions, and were really making Eibar pay with a series of ruthless finishes.

On 25 minutes, Mandzukic put the result beyond doubt with his second and the team’s third, robbing the defence on the edge of the area before rifling past the helpless Irureta.

It was a master-class in how to play on such a waterlogged pitch, and at times looked almost too easy for Atleti, who had the luxury of being able to play in second gear for the majority of the match.

The home side have earned many admirers this year for their plucky, never say die attitude though, drawing comparisons to their more famed opponents. Just before half-time, Moyá had to be alert to stop Arruabarrena from scoring, getting down well to make a crucial block.

Up at the other end, Saúl could’ve made it four if not for an equally smart intervention from Irureta. Raúl García and Griezmann both had chances on the rebound, but this time were unable to capitalise.

Manager Gaizka Garitano opted to make all of his changes at the break, and threw on Dejan Lekic, Javi Lara and Ander Capa for the second period. However, the damage had been done and the game soon fizzled out into a more pedestrian affair.

Mandzukic continued to plug away in attack, really giving the Eibar centre-back pairing a tough evening. Midway through the half he had a golden opportunity for the hat-trick after getting on the end of Koke’s cross, but couldn’t get enough power on his header.

Atleti also had a couple of penalty shouts turned away – both handballs – but nothing was doing for referee Pérez Montero. Saúl did go into the book for a similar offence, but it seems the same rules don’t apply inside the box in Spain.

In the closing stages, Eibar were rewarded for all their endeavour and grabbed a consolation goal through Piovaccari, who bundled in from close range following some good wing-play from Saúl Berjón.

The goal was a cheap one to concede from our defence’s point of view, but did little to take the shine off of a very mature showing from Simeone’s men.

With the derby coming up in a week’s time, Atleti also did well to come through without any injuries or suspensions. God-willing, we will have the whole squad available for Real Madrid’s visit to the Calderón.

League-wise, we have now won 12 of our last 14 and remain in contention at the top of the table. Despite the cup exit, we now have a few weeks without any midweek action before the Champions League returns, so will get some crucial rest ahead of the season’s business end.

All in all, a very good evening’s work in Ipurua for Atleti, who should now be full of belief that they can get three points next Saturday.

Eibar Atlético Madrid
Eibar 13 Atlético Madrid
Piovaccari 89'Griezmann 7'
 Mandzukic 23'
 Mandzukic 25'
Competition La Liga
Location Ipurua
Date 31 January 2015
Kick Off 18:00 CET

Team Lineups

Eibar
Irureta
Castellano
Lillo
Raúl Navas
Abraham
Borja
Errasti
Manu
Saúl Berjón
Arruabarrena
Piovaccari
Substitutes used
Javi Lara (45')
Capa (45')
Lekic (45')
Atlético Madrid
Moyá
Jesús Gámez
Godín
Giménez
Siqueira
Tiago
Saúl
Koke
Raúl Garcíá
Griezmann
Mandzukic
Substitutes used
Mario Suárez (55')
Raúl Jiménez (70')
Cani (79')

Match Stats

Possession
4753
Shots
118
On Target
35
Corners
68
Fouls
1416
Yellow Cards
33
Red Cards
00
  • A surgical win in the first half, and an economic play in the second, but it wasn’t easy though, only big teams can handle such complicated games, and they were games like this what made us finish 6th or 7th few years ago

    For me, it’s always much more joyful when we win a league game while resting some starters

    I will not talk about Mandzukic, because now I have realized that some people will keep hating him or at least not liking him no mater what, just like the case of Raul Garcia
    Speaking of Raul, when I read his name on TV as the one who received the yellow card in min. 27 I freaked out, despite that I was very sure that they were mistaken and Koke was the one, I had to go and check it out on the internet on my computer
    This is how much he is important to me

    Griezmann really needs to stop receiving unnecessary yellow cards, he is now on 4, only one away from suspension,
    I wish he doesn’t get it before Sevilla or Valencia games, if he didn’t get booked against Madrid, I think he should try to against Celta so that he misses Almeria game at home and doesn’t risk missing Valencia or Sevilla
    Partido a partido doesn’t apply here, Sevilla & Valencia are still direct rivals, and the game against each of them worth 6 points

    We are yet to make 4 wins streak in la Liga this season, that’s why we are third and not so far from the 4th and the 5th, now we are on 3, can we make it 4 against Madrid ?! .. that will be perfect

    I am impressed by the fitness of Jesus Gamez, who doesn’t play too much and who will turn 30 next April

  • Brad

    Beyond the economic play, I was fairly impressed by the chances we did have in the second half despite the conditions on the pitch. There were a few long balls that just hit the pitch and stopped in the mud.

  • Ringo

    half the fields was brown

    literally playing in the mid
    Almost surprised the game wasn’t called off

    Not the most exciting of playing styles possible but the first three attempts were all goals
    Plus with this field i don’t blame them really
    Won’t judge

    Ps when garcia got off they showed his passing stats
    12/35
    LOL
    One of them was the assist on Griezmann tho
    But a passing rate of about 35%, yikes

  • Chewie

    I don’t give a shit about his passing skills. He made a beautiful assist, that’s what counts. Plus the field was horrible, normally he’s about 53% 🙂

  • I’ve been watching the South American sub-20 and Angel Corrrea is the brain of Argentina. Good passer and dribbler. Very smart and goal-driven player.
    We did a wonderful move signing this guy.

  • Kris

    “Normally he’s about 53%” lmao.

  • yeah .. I’m also laughing right now !

  • I only watched the game against Bolivia, the one Correa did not play !
    But I’ve seen all his goals and assists, and the goals of El Cholito, the little Simone, which are 7 until now
    The last assist for Angelito was 2 hours ago when they beat Brazil (your country) 2-0, sorry !
    This is one hell of an assist https://vine.co/v/Ot23xr95zBi

  • Hahaha Exactly..
    This assist inspired me to comment this here. Some minutes before he dribbled 3 players and gave another fine assist but the attacker was fouled right before the box.
    Great player we have.. 🙂

  • If “Partido a Partido” is a religion, then the next is absolutely a blasphemy !
    But I can’t help it, maybe I’m not very faithful :

    After 21 weeks, we have 47 pts, this is a great figure, it’s 2.24 pts/game, with that average we could finish the season with 85 pts, just 5 pts less than the last season, not bad at all
    And for more perspective, let’s take a look at the other 4 of the 5 top leagues in Europe
    EPL : after 21 weeks, Man City had 47 pts, just like us, BUT they were in second place
    Serie A : Roma have 43 pts, also second
    Ligue 1 : OM had 41 pts after 21 games, also second
    Bundesliga : the second is Wolfsburg with 37 pts from 18 games, and if they won the next 3 games they will reach 46 pts

    So, in any other league, we would be second right now
    BUT this is not my point, everybody knows that what Madrid & Barca are doing is abnormal, each of them reached 100 pts few seasons ago, so, if somebody said that I’m just stating the obvious he will be totally right
    My point is that we are not just only 3rd with our big number of points, but also we are not safe at our 3rd position, and couldn’t make a big gap yet between us and the 4th place
    Only 5 pts more than Sevilla who have a game in hand, and 6 more than Valencia who will play tonight and probably will make it 3 pts again
    While in the other 4 leagues, those are the gaps between teams in second places – who have less points than us after the same number of games- and teams in 3rd places :
    EPL : 5, Serie A : 4, Bundesliga : 7, and in Ligue 1 OM & PSG have the same number of points, but both are 7 pts away from 4th place

    From week 1 and until now I didn’t change my mind, it is NOT about the strength of Valencia & Sevilla, but it is about the ridiculousness of the rest of La Liga teams
    Just take last night’s game between Sevilla & Espanyol as an example, the stupid first goal Kiko Casilla conceded then the more stupid red card, and he wasn’t upset at all with the goal or the expulsion, just like some people love to phrase it :
    ” and not a single fuck was given that day ”
    and by the way, this clown is the one Señor Del Bosque choose to be the 3rd GK for La Roja .. not Moya

    This is what we have to deal with, you need 80 pts or maybe more to secure the last direct spot for UCL !

    Tonight, Valencia will visit Malaga, and if they won it will be again 3 pts between us and them, then, next week we will have Real Madrid, and despite wining 3 and drawing twice in the 5 games against them this season, there is still at least 50% chance to lose to them, while Valencia will visit Espanyol itself, and when they win, they will take the 3rd place from us, and everybody will start to panic

    So, why not start panicking right now like me and support Malaga like if it’s Atleti who is playing
    In fact, I’m not sure yet if I should hope for Sevilla to beat Real Madrid next Wednesday or should I wish they lose ?!
    Maybe a draw will be perfect

    Fuck you La Liga .. you have turned me into an obsessive-compulsive person !

  • Chewie

    Just relax, it’s all part of the game – the unfairness, losing, winning, being pissed off. By the way, Malaga beat Valencia so we can take a not very deep breath. The best result for Sevilla and Real would be a draw, of course, but what’s going to happen is Sevilla trodden into ground. And we have a full week to recover and recharge. Then Torres will score two goals, Goding will make some clearances and Moya will stay calm, and we’ll get closer to Barcelona. Or not. This season it’s not the same Atletico but there’s still hope. Only partido a partido and sticking to the plan will bring results. Prepare for more dull pragmatic displays.

  • I watched the whole game, and it proved my point, Valencia played a very bad game and didn’t deserve to get any point, but they were close to equalize in more than one occasion, even after when they were one man down

    I can’t relax, I was screaming and swearing at Malaga players !
    I will only relax when we have a cushion of at least 10 points from 4th place, and we can have it soon with our own hands (or feet), we will play against Sevilla and Valencia in week 25 and week 26
    We really need that cushion, not just the fans, but the team itself
    It’s not right to have 47 pts in 21 games and yet one defeat could make you 4th or even 5th, I don’t think this is a part of the game, not the game I know !

  • Ktdbell

    I think you underestimate the teams in La Liga tremendously, Sevilla and Valencia especially. They are having good seasons this year because they are good teams. Borussia Monchengladbach is +300 to win right now vs Sevilla, if you really feel they are only having a good season because they beat terrible La Liga teams, how could the 3rd place team in the mighty Bundesliga not destroy them? Both teams would be favorites against the bottom half of all the leagues in the world, including La Liga.

  • You are talking like Sevilla did thrash Glabach, as far as I know, they haven’t played yet !
    But that’s all right, let’s say they will beat them very badly, then my answer will be very easy :
    Bayern won Budesliga last season before SEVEN weeks from the end, I don’t think this is even close to mighty

    We did thrash Sevilla 4-0 with bad refereeing, and in week 6 while we were still looking for our shape after too many changes in the squad, so when they are just 5 point behind us -with a game in hand- after 21 weeks, there must be something wrong with the league

    It is not my way to underestimate anybody, generally in life and not just in football, and I watch a lot of games for Valencia & Sevilla, and I believe they are not that good
    But they are aggressive and violent, I will admit that, and that help them a lot, especially when nobody call them violent, because this will distract the people from the lie of calling us violent !
    Sevilla are leading the fouls-committed table from week one until this moment (despite playing one game less)
    While Valencia are 6th in fouls-committed and 2nd in red cards
    And keep in mind the awful refereeing in Spain, in any other country, their numbers would be much worse

    By the way : The ” Violent ” Atleti are 15th on fouls-committed table, while in fouls-suffered table, they are 5th, with just 2 fouls less than Barca

  • Max Huber

    Wow, you are really well-briefed! It´s really amazing to read your comments! But I think you can relax – at the end it should be the quality of the squad, which will secure Atletico the third place! Hopefully not the really bad referees in Spain!

  • I totally believe we will secure the third place, and I even didn’t lose the hope yet in the title or at least the second place, but that doesn’t only depend on us, but more on how much points will Madrid & Barca drop
    But -for me- it’s not a question of “will we secure the 3rd place”, it’s “when will we secure the 3rd place”
    I’m not saying that we can’t handle pressure, because with the circumstances we all know, a club like us is always under a huge pressure, but a little less pressure will benefit us too much

    One example : less pressure will encourage Simeone to make more rotations, which will give the players the rest they need to compete in both La Liga & UCL, he even could play Oblak in some La Liga games, and he and the club really need that especially after being knocked out of the cup, but this will never happen with Sevilla & Valencia very close to us, and the 16-million- euros Oblak will end the season with just 7 games !