La Liga: Málaga 2 – 2 Atlético
Atlético drop two points in the race with Valencia for third place
Atlético Madrid could only come away from La Rosaleda with a point on Saturday evening, after an entertaining game in the south of Spain ended 2-2.
Antoine Griezmann’s second goal of the game was enough to get Atleti back on an equal footing, and in truth Diego Simeone will be happy to take a point after the way the game unfolded.
Atlético have developed a habit of scoring early in recent matches, and this trend would surely have continued if the referee hadn’t waved away penalty claims on Fernando Torres in the opening five minutes.
Torres found himself with the opportunity from close-range, but he was pushed to the floor inside the Málaga penalty area as part of a clumsy challenge from Rosales, but the referee waved away the appeals.
El Niño did get a chance to open the scoring again after ten minutes. Juanfran, back in the side after serving his suspension for yellow cards, managed to chase down the ball on the right wing and cross, but Torres could only volley it high into the stands.
It was Juanfran who set up Fernando Torres again soon after, but Fernando couldn’t get a clean header at goal.
It wasn’t as productive a start to the game for the rojiblanco on the opposite flank. Summer signing Jesús Gámez was being roundly booed by the Málaga fans after spending 15 years playing with Los Boquerones.
However his fortunes changed in the 25th minute, as a long throw in from Gámez was completely fumbled by Carlos Kameni. The throw reached the front post, but instead of catching it cleanly, Kameni dropped the catch and Griezmann was on hand to tap the ball in on the goal line. 1-0 to the visitors, and it’s Griezmann’s 17th league goal of the season.
Atleti weren’t having it all their own way. Málaga were applying some pressure as the first half went on. A dangerous free header from a corner was cleared over the bar by Miranda, whilst Tiago was forced to execute an acrobatic clearance to get the ball away from danger a moment later.
And it was from a corner that Atlético conceded the equaliser. Whipped in from Recio, the ball swung in to the near post where Fernando Torres seemed to get his head on the ball to deceive Oblak. The Slovenian tried to stop the ball but it trickled into the net to end his run of clean sheets in La Liga.
Fernando Torres was not enjoying the best of games up until now. Despite getting into the right positions, his first touch and finishing have both let him down. The first own goal of his career won’t do his confidence any favours.
Málaga were on top straight after the break, and had the majority of the chances. They even had a penalty shout turned down from, at the least, a consistent referee.
The biggest chance for the home side so far came as Amrabat crossed in but Castillejo couldn’t get any part of his body behind the strike, and it bounced harmlessly wide of Oblak’s goal.
Carlos Kameni attoned for his earlier mistake in the 52nd minute, when a Griezmann cross picked out the head of Fernando Torres. El Niño backtracked and played a cushioned header over the top of the defender and into the path of Koke. Kameni managed to do enough to put off our young Spaniard, and Koke headed wide of the gaping goal.
The Cameroonian goalkeeper pulled off another good save just a few minutes later, when another cross in to the Málaga box found the head of Atleti’s number nine. Torres couldn’t guide it away from the goalkeeper.
The 31-year-old had another shot saved shortly after, when he took down a long Arda Turan cross brilliantly. Torres’ shot was from a tight angle and it forced another good save from Kameni.
It was Torres’ last attempt of the evening, as he was eventually substituted and replaced by Saúl.
While Atlético were beginning to dominate, Málaga were looking increasingly dangerous on the counter-attack. Oblak was called upon twice to make a reflex save, and the defensive duo of Giménez and Miranda did well to clear the danger.
However the central defenders were nowhere to be seen just a few minutes later when Samuel Garcia gave the home side the lead.
A through ball, played blind by Amrabat, caught everyone off guard and it went through to Samu. Oblak rushed out and dived at the feet of the unmarked Spaniard, who calmly chipped the ball over him and into the back of the net. 2-1 to Málaga.
Diego Simeone sprung into action, and instantly replaced Gabi with Raúl Jímenez, hoping the Mexican forward could use the remaining 15 minutes to finally make his mark at Atlético. And make a difference he did.
Jesús Gámez crossed the ball in, and Raúl Jiménez jumped up high to head the ball down to Antoine Griezmann, who wasted very little time before smashing it into the back of Carlos Kameni’s net.
Replays showed that Griezmann was perhaps a good yard offside when Jiménez headed it down, but subsequent analysis from the TV analysts show that Griezmann was being played onside by a Málaga defender on the far side.
Jiménez nearly had a second assist in the final ten minutes, when a cross in from Juanfran picked out the Mexican perfectly. He cushioned it down and teed it up to Saúl, who brought an excellent save from Kameni.
Not content to surrender the spotlight to his opposite number, Oblak pulled off a terrific save to stop Amrabat from restoring Málaga’s lead immediately after. The Moroccoan international swivelled on the edge of the Atleti area before firing a low shot to Oblak’s left hand post. The Slovenian was equal to it.
The remainder of the game featured a number of half chances to both sides, but nothing of note, and Atleti drop two points in the race for third place. Valencia are at home to Levante on Monday night.
What did you think of our performance? Was Torres that bad? Didn’t Jiménez do well when he came on?
|F Torres (o.g.) 37'||Griezmann 25'|
|Samu 71'||Griezmann 78'|
|11 April 2015|
|Raúl Jiménez (73')|