La Liga: Real Sociedad 1 – 2 Atlético
Villa, Koke and Courtois deliver three points for Atlético
Atlético Madrid continued their excellent start to the season and made it three for three with a win over Real Sociedad.
The game between two Champions League contestants — the teams finished 3rd and 4th last season — was exciting until the end, even if the Rojiblancos dominated most of the game.
La Real is rightfully one of the more hyped teams in Spain, after convincingly qualifying for the Champions League and doing so by playing spectacular football. But the team who had gone 15 games at Anoeta without defeat were no match for Cholo and his men.
Diego Simeone sent out the same eleven players that started in the Super Cup against Barcelona, and they controlled the first half of the game on Sunday night. That said, the first opportunity was for Antoine Griezmann, who hit the crossbar after a quick counter attack by the home side.
From that point on, it was all about David Villa, who fired just wide in the 12th minute after a lovely attack down the left led by Koke. A few minutes later, Villa again missed by a hair, after Juanfran had done well to pressure and force Claudio Bravo into giving the ball away.
After a fantastic ball over the top, Villa again found himself in a good position to score, but this time Bravo did well to narrow the angle and deny the Spanish striker.
But in the 28th minute, there was nothing the Chilean ‘keeper could do when David Villa beat him from close range. The striker was given an unmissable opportunity when Ansotegui failed to clear the ball. El Guaje showed he hasn’t lost his scoring touch, as he subtly lobbed the ball over the charging goalkeeper.
The goal was set up by Koke, who, like Arda Turan, was able to move between the lines freely. Atlético completely shut down Sociedad’s creative trio of Vela, Xabi Prieto, and Griezmann, and were able to extend their lead at the start of the second half.
In the 57th minute, David Villa found himself in space down the left side, and he crossed the ball perfectly for Koke, who was able to slide it in for 2-0.
Some moments later Diego Costa nearly got his fourth goal of the campaign, when he came within an inch of heading in a corner kick, which Miranda had flicked on at the near post.
An uncommon lapse in concentration by Atlético allowed Real Sociedad to get on the score sheet, and turned the game around. Filipe and Godín jogged back after committing a foul, failing to keep an eye on Xabi Prieto, who was launched by Granero. Prieto then showed his technique by scoring wonderfully in the top corner.
The home side regained their faith while nerves seemed to kick in at Atlético, with Gabi, Mario, and Filipe all picking up bookings. Arda Turan had a chance to restore our two-goal lead, but he shot straight at Claudio Bravo.
In the final minutes, La Real pushed Atleti with their backs against the wall, but, fortunately, we can always count on Thibaut Courtois to man our final line of defence. The Belgian shotstopper hadn’t had anything to do up until that point, but pulled his team through when it mattered most.
First, Courtois saved spectacularly to stop a volley by Granero, and in the added time he was able to reach just far enough to deny Real Sociedad a late equalizer.
And so Atlético managed to take the full three points from Anoeta, as they continue their perfect start to the season. What happened the last time we won our first three games, you ask? Well, Atleti went on to have one of its greatest seasons in club history and won the La Liga championship.
|Xabi Prieto 68'||David Villa 27'|
|01 September 2013|
|D La Bella|
|Arda Turan (86')|
|Diego Costa (90')|
|David Villa (82')|
|Raul Garcia (82')|
|C Rodriguez (86')|