La Liga: Sevilla 0 – 3 Atlético
Koke, Gabi and Jackson on target as rojiblancos make a statement
After an unconvincing win in their La Liga curtain-raiser against Las Palmas last week, Atlético Madrid showed just what they are capable of on Sunday evening with an impressive win at rivals Sevilla.
Koke opened the scoring, before late goals from Gabi and substitute Jackson Martínez secured a 3-0 win in one of the most difficult away venues in the whole of Spain.
Ahead of kick-off, the rojiblanco fanbase was rocked with the news that Raúl García is set to depart for Athletic Bilbao tomorrow, and the team paid tribute to the robust midfielder by holding up eight fingers after each goal.
RG8 was left out of the squad altogether despite travelling with the squad to Seville, and will sign a four-year contract with the Basque club tomorrow after the two clubs agreed on a fee.
Cholo also surprised many by opting for Fernando Torres ahead of Jackson Martínez in attack, with the Colombian still getting up to speed in these first few months as an Atleti player.
El Niño wasn’t in top form in attack, but thankfully strike partner Antoine Griezmann was, in particular in the first half. The Frenchman fashioned our two best chances of the first half, setting up Óliver for a shot that was saved by Beto, before bending one just past the post himself.
However, his main contribution came ten minutes before half-time, as he showed great determination to poke to ball into the path of Koke after being knocked to the floor by Sevilla defender Adil Rami.
The Spanish international took advantage of his teammates’ clever touch, and was on hand to side foot the ball into the corner and put the visitors into the lead.
It was probably deserved on the balance of play, but Sevilla stepped up the intensity after the break and really started to ask questions of the Atleti backline.
With the towering Fernando Llorente in attack after being granted a free transfer from Juventus this week, cross after cross came into the away side’s penalty area, but they stood firm and handled everything that was being thrown at them.
If it wasn’t Godín, it was Giménez, and if it wasn’t Giménez it was Oblak, who had to be on hand on a few occasions to deny the likes of Coke and Konoplyanka from finding an equaliser.
Despite all of the pressure, Atleti were looking threatening at the other end, and dealt the home side a killer blow not long from the end.
After the lively Carrasco had won a free-kick, the Sevilla defence switched off as a subsitution was made, and captain Gabi made the most if it with a superb second goal from fully 30 yards.
His powerful effort did take a deflection on it’s way in, but nobody in red and white would’ve cared as the pocket of away fans were allowed to breathe a sigh of relief.
Just before the end, marquee summer signing Jackson Martínez put the gloss on the scoreline with a delightful curling effort from just outside the box, and secured a crucial three points against a direct rival.
You could see just what it meant to the team on all of their faces, both for Jackson to get off the mark and for the result, which sends a clear message out to the rest of the teams in La Liga. Atleti mean business this year.
Raúl García may be off, but the players showed that there is plenty of life left still in the team and demonstrated the qualities that the Basque midfielder is synonymous for; grit, determination, hard-work, resilience…
With Barça up next after the international break, you have to feel this is a real chance for Atleti to lay down a marker at this early stage in the season.
|Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan|
|30 August 2015|