La Liga: Rayo Vallecano 2 – 4 Atlético
Atlético win Madrid derby despite defensive lapses
Usually Atlético Madrid look to grind out a 0-1 victory in their games on the road, trusting in their impenetrable defence.
On Sunday night the Colchoneros were hardly recognizable in a high scoring affair, although the result – another road win in a Madrid derby – was very much the same.
Rayo this season have been one of La Liga’s most exciting sides to watch with their opportunistic approach, often sacrificing any defensive security as they intend on keeping possession and attacking collectively. After just eight minutes their attempt to play the ball out of defence went horribly wrong, as David Villa picked off the ball on the edge of the box. Diego Costa played the ball back to El Guaje who calmly slotted the ball into the net to score for the second week in a row.
Just a few minutes later Rayo were given the chance to equalize, but Jonathan Viera missed a penalty kick after Javi Manquillo had fouled Alberto Bueno inside the box. Ironically, Manquillo started over Juanfran who sat out a suspension after conceding a penalty last week, which at the time ended a 63 game streak of going without giving up a spot kick.
It was end to end stuff in the opening half as Atleti came incredibly close to doubling their lead only a few moments later. Goalkeeper Rubén pulled off a great save to deny Diego Costa and then got his hand to José Sosa’s rebound to deflect the Argentine’s shot against the crossbar.
Sosa started in place of Koke, but the Spanish midfielder played the full 90 minutes as Tiago dropped out in the warm up. It was Koke’s 100th game in red and white, making him the third youngest player to reach the milestone behind Fernando Torres and Sergio Agüero.
After half an hour of play Atlético scored their second goal through a quick break set up by David Villa, Diego Costa and José Sosa. The latter did well to keep his composure and gifted an easy goal to Arda Turan, who put the ball in from only a couple yards out.
In the five minutes before the break Atleti collectively seemed to forget about their defence, as Rayo created several chances on the break. One counter attack created a 3 on 2 situation for the home side which lead to Jonathan Viera’s goal, helping the winger get some revenge for his penalty miss earlier on.
At the other end David Villa shot just wide, while a Godín mishap nearly cost Atlético the equalizer.
Still before half time, Atlético extended their lead to two again. A Gabi free kick was headed on by Atleti loanee Saúl Ñíguez unintentionally (or not?), which gave Arda Turan a golden opportunity to score his second and his team’s third goal of the night.
The Colchoneros took their foot off the gas and not much happened until things got exciting again in the final fifteen minutes of the game. Before that there was some bad news for Atleti, as Óliver Torres had to be stretchered off just moments after coming on with what appears to be a dislocated shoulder.
In the 75th minute, shortly after Larrivey’s shot went just over the crossbar, it was Diego Costa who decided the game. Or was it? Replays were inconclusive as to whether Diego Costa scored his first goal of 2014 and 20th of the campaign or if Saúl should be credited with an own goal.
But Rayo struck back immediately through Larrivey, who headed in the home side’s second from close range after the Atlético defence stood by without attempting to intervene. In the final minutes Thibaut Courtois was called upon to stop a number of shots, but his team came through unscathed as they held on to their 4-2 lead.
|Viera 40'||Villa 8'|
|Larrivey 76'||Arda 31'|
|Diego Costa 75'|
|Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas|
|26 January 2014|
|C. Rodríguez (65')|
|Raúl García (80')|