La Liga: Rayo Vallecano 0 – 0 Atlético
Super Cup hangover limits Atleti to goalless draw in Vallecas
Defending Spanish champions Atlético Madrid could only manage a 0-0 draw in their third Madrid derby of the week, in a match that could easily have gone completely against the away side.
Predictably, Rayo dominated possession, and despite a flurry of chances for Mario Mandzukic, they always looked the more likely team to score.
With Simeone in the stands following a one-match suspension, (and with a further four to serve), Atleti lacked any real passion and drive going forward.
Los rojiblancos capitalised on a number of Rayo defensive errors midway through the first half, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Ansaldi, starting in place of Siqueira who was injured in the warm-up, broke quickly down the left wing and crossed the ball in to Mandzukic, who threw himself toward the ball at the back-post. A well hit half-volley was off target though, and the Croatian should really have worked the goalkeeper.
Just a few minutes later, another great change fell into the lap of our new number nine.
Rayo had a defensive lapse and the ball ended up with Raul Jimenez on the edge of the area. Instead of shooting however, the Mexican laid the ball off to his fellow debutant Mandzukic.
The Croatian got off a poor shot, and it rolled into the arms of Cristian Alvarez in goal for Rayo.
Despite starting with the three new attackers up-front; Mandzukic, Griezmann and Raul Jimenez, Atleti couldn’t fashion many more chances, and it was Rayo who looked more likely to score after the break. In fact, all three were replaced before the match was over.
Rayo made the first change, bringing off Jonathan Pereira and replacing him with Mateus Manucho, the former Manchester United striker.
The Angolan had a number of chances to give Rayo all three points – the best coming midway through the second half. A cross into the box from Aquino on the right wing was met brilliantly by the head of Manucho, steered delicately toward the bottom left hand corner.
It was Miguel Angel Moya at full stretch who got a strong hand behind it, and prevented the opening goal.
In truth it was a poor performance for Atleti, with Mario Suarez and Koke in particular failing to capture the imagination of Atlético supporters.
Even the introduction of Hector for Mandzukic couldn’t spark any fresh ideas from the Atlético side.
Without the suspended Raul Garcia, and of course Diego Simeone, Atleti lacked the fight that they displayed so regularly last season.
It could have been fatigue, as this was effectively the same side that played twice against Real Madrid over the last 6 days.
At least it wasn’t a loss for Atlético, who never really looked like scoring in the second half. It’s an undefeated start to the season in what was a tricky away encounter.
We can address what went wrong here and rest up ahead of our match with Eibar on Saturday evening.
Who underperformed for you? Mandzukic, Mario or Koke? Or somebody else?
Was it the Simeone effect we were missing, or was it a hangover from our Super Cup triumph?
|Rayo Vallecano||0 0||Atlético Madrid|
|Estadio de Vallecas|
|25 August 2014|
|J Pereira (54')|
|Raul Jimenez (61')|
|C Rodriguez (83')|