La Liga: Real Sociedad 2 – 1 Atlético
Atleti lucky to leave the Anoeta without a bigger deficit
Defending Spanish champions Atletico Madrid delivered arguably their worst performance under Diego Simeone against a Sociedad team that prior to the match had only a single win all season.
The opening segment of the game was probably the only positive time for the Madrid side but Gabi’s over hit free kick in the 4th minute to Raul Garcia foreshadowed what was to be a lacklustre performance from Los Rojiblancos.
A deep ball pumped up by Moya was cushioned down to Juanfran by Raul Garcia who returned the ball to the number 8 and without looking up unleashed a cross that seemed to be magnetically attracted to Mandzukic’s boot. The Croatian tapped it in to round off an excellent piece of play and put Atleti one nil up on the 10th minute.
It seemed that Atletico would be able to relax into the game and assert themselves with their one goal lead but this was not to be.
Exactly 5 minutes later Carlos Vela, typically a thorn in Atleti’s side, found himself a few yards out from the box with enough time to produce a stunning long range effort that even the best of goalkeepers would have struggled with. Gabi and Mario Suarez’ inability to close down the Mexican proved costly as the Basque club were back in the game.
The game was a heated affair to say the least and Turan was the first of seven Atleti players to enter the book when he got up close and personal with the linesman. Juanfran soon followed as he appealed the prior decision.
Although the referee was extremely quick to produce yellow cards, even a red, for Atletico the Madrid side can feel lucky that he failed to award Sociedad a penalty as Godin brought down Vela in the box in the 22nd minute, who subsequently drew a yellow card for diving. That was the first of three different penalty claims, all of which could have been given.
The performance from Atleti seemed laboured from a group of players who were visibly jaded. Although we should not be shocked that a rarely rotated side are showing signs of fatigue, it is a far cry from the band of brothers who played at 100mph every match day over the course of last year. Griezmann, Tiago and Gimenez were all players that could have injected the enthusiasm and fitness that was missing from the red and white champions.
This was epitomised by Miranda’s back pass to Moya int he 34th minute which could only be described as lazy. Agirretxe couldn’t believe his luck as he skipped past Moya and slotted a shot which was heroically cleared off the line by Godin.
The half time break did not regenerate Atleti as Siqueira picked up his second yellow 3 minutes into the second period of the game. The Brasilian could have no complaints as he had been caught out of position on the left wing and got none of the ball.
Another penalty claim for Sociedad came in the 53rd minute as Vela twisted and turned in the box until he was brought down by Mandzukic who clumsily collided with the Mexican. It was hard to accuse Vela of diving this time as blood trickled down lip.
A moment of brilliance and madness ensued for Ansaldi who was brought on to cover the left flank vacated due to Siqueira’s dismissal. The Argentine stormed down the left wing leaving his marker for dead and cut back the ball to Mandzukic who failed to get the ball on target. 3 minutes later the Argentine seemed to use his elbow to intercept a cross from Sociedad, luckily for Atleti and Ansaldi neither the linesman or referee spotted it.
The desperation to leave the Anoeta with a measly point was displayed by none other than Diego Simeone when he headed a loose ball behind him, almost earning himself a yellow.
After heavy bombardment, Sociedad took the lead for the first time in the game as Agirretxe latched onto a cross and headed past Moya in the 82nd minute. The burly centre forward found himself in the Atleti box with a free header as Miranda attempted to challenge for the ball in vain.
A very dissapointing night indeed for Atletico Madrid for whom the international break could not come sooner. Los Rojiblancos face Malaga at home in two weeks which we hope should be enough time for Simeone to rally his troops.
Did Simeone get his tactics wrong or were La Real simply too good?
|Real Sociedad||21||Atlético Madrid|
|Vela 15'||Mandzukic 10'|
|09 November 2014|