La Liga: Sporting 2 – 1 Atlético

Atlético bow out of title race with crushing defeat at Sporting Gijon

Sporting celebrate equalising against Atlético

Sporting celebrate equalising against Atlético

Atlético Madrid waved their fading title hopes goodbye on Saturday afternoon, after they crashed to a 2-1 defeat to Sporting Gijon at El Molinón.

In a match that virtually seals the title for Barcelona, Atleti gave away a one-goal lead and collapsed in the second half, letting 19th placed Sporting take advantage of slack defending and a poor performance all round for Atleti.

Diego Simeone seemed content to stick with a 1-0 goal lead, and brought off Griezmann, Vietto and Correa in the second half, which eventually sealed Atleti’s downfall.

Antoine Griezmann had an opportunity for Atlético in the opening minute to start the match, but couldn’t keep his feet inside the Sporting Gijon box.

It was a first-half that was void of chances until Saúl was brought down by Pablo Pérez outside the Sporting area. This gave Atleti the perfect opportunity to have a strike at goal, and it was one that Antoine Griezmann did not pass up.

The Frenchman stood up and curled the ball into the top-right corner of Sporting’s net to give Atleti the lead. It was the youngster’s 17th goal in the league this season, and he’s now scored in each of Atleti’s last five league games.

Ángel Correa had the chance to double the lead in the closing stages of the first half, but couldn’t keep his feet either and skied Griezmann’s cross over the Sporting crossbar.

Atlético were happy to let Sporting have the ball for the majority of the match, although the home side weren’t able to create a great deal.

Atleti’s 4-3-3 didn’t seem to be working, and Simeone replaced Correa with Gabi on the hour mark. It was a game that largely passed Ángel Correa by, and the Argentinean had very little impact in his 60 minutes on the field.

Fernando Torres entered the frey a short time after, replacing the goalscorer Griezmann. And the third prong of Atleti’s attack, Luciano Vietto, was replaced by Juanfran a short-time later.

Atlético were evidently happy with their one-goal lead (and one shot on target) and chose to protect it from the desperate Sporting.

Sporting had a huge chance to draw level from a well designed free-kick late in the second half. Sanabria beat Oblak but saw his chance crash off of the outside of the Atleti goalpost.

It wasn’t long after this before Sporting were level, another goal from a free-kick.

Sanabria struck the free-kick into the busy Atlético wall, and his shot deflected off of Kranevitter’s boot and out of Oblak’s path. The goalkeeper could do very little to stop it, and the tide had turned against Atlético.

The game almost came crashing down around Atlético in the final five minutes. Sanabria was on the Atleti wing, and Giménez pulled his hamstring trying to keep up with the Paraguayan.

The Atlético defender stopped and let Sanabria run clear at the Atlético goal. He squared the ball to Castro who crashed a shot off of the Atlético bar from eight yards out. Unbelievable let-off for Atlético.

However it wasn’t to be the end of the tortue for Atlético, and in the final minute of the game, Sporting completed the comeback and took the lead. Jony was able to find the ball in the Atlético box, and square across to Carlos Castro.

The Sporting player wasn’t going to miss again, and calmly rolled the ball into the back of Oblak’s net. 2-1 to the home side.

It’s the end of Atleti’s title hopes, and now all of Atleti’s focus must be on the Champions League clash with Barcelona in 2 weeks time.

Sporting Atlético Madrid
Sporting 21 Atlético Madrid
Sanabria 79'Griezmann 29'
Castro 89' 
Competition Liga BBVA
Location El Molinón
Date 19 March 2016
Kick Off 16:00 CET
  • Ahmad Hossainy

    That’s why I didn’t “get a grip” as some people asked me and I kept criticizing Simeone after winning the derby and scoring 3 goals against each of Valencia, Sociedad & Depor, I knew this will happen, because nothing has actually changed and those wins were deceiving .
    I didn’t change my speech because I didn’t want to be called a “plastic fan” or a “glory hunter” or a “hypocrite” or anything like that when I criticize Simeone after a horrible show like today’s … and I didn’t have any doubts that it will come .

  • nandes

    Exhaustion was one of the main factors, for sure, but still no excuse for keeping out Olíver who was fully rested, Thomas, Augusto who only played 60 minutes vs. PSV… just bad decisions all around.

    International break could have not come at a better time. Hope Gimenez, Godín & Savic can recover. Aúpa Atleti.

  • AaX

    The contentment of just trying to defend a 1-0 lead against the second last team of the league is truely TROUBLESOME and need IMMEDIATE RECTIFICATION !

    I can’t even say aupa atleti today. Not Today !

  • Koke

    If Simeone doesn’t change his tactics I won’t be sad to see him go. People might think that it’s ungrateful to criticize Simeone after all he’s done for us but that’s not the case. It’s possible to be grateful to Simeone for all that he has done and at the same time recognize that he is holding our team back from our true potential. When we were a team that was used to the upper-mid table of the league and that was a stranger to the Champions league and could only sign players for dirt cheap or on loan, his tactics might have been okay. Not when we have one of the greatest squads on paper in the world and have massive spending power and are considered by many to be champion’s league contenders. I can thank Simeone for making us CL regulars and winning the league for us against all odds – that time, he overachieved. But now a lot has changed for us, and now we are very much underachieving.

    The likes of Griezmann, Correa, Carrasco, Oliver, etc deserve better. Hard work, unity, and “balls” are VERY important, but they aren’t everything. You also need quality. And in most of our games this season we lacked the quality you’d expect from us. Poor, poor, poor display

  • atleti10

    I’m a big Simeone fan and I think he’s done more for the club over the last 5 years than any other coach could have but I’m finding it hard to watch our games at the moment.

    As someone pointed out on the match day article, football is entertainment and Atletico are by far the least entertaining team in Europe. Id be happy to conceded if it meant playing a bit of football. Next season will give us an idea to see just how far Simeone will go as a manager, he has to adapt and grow otherwise he risks stagnating. At least the big clubs will cool their interest, that’s a good thing right? Hmm.

  • Hannu

    This is not for this game as it was just catastrophe but how should Atleti play then? Like Barcelona or Real Madrid or what? I actually think that how we played in 13-14 season was just beautiful. That pressing was like a fucking spanish armada! It was more entertaining for me than any wannabe nice football.

  • Patrick English

    Who would you replace Simeone with? Who could Atletico afford that is better when they are hundreds of millions of euros in debt?

  • Koke

    Unai Emery, Marcelino, Berrizo, Valvarede from La Liga or Manuel Pelligrini or Marcelo Bielsa from abroad. We don’t need a high profile coach like Mourinho or Ancelotti; in fact I think the coaches that are used to more humble, poorer teams would fit Atleti much better. Personally, I am actually a really big fan of both Emery and Marcelino. They are doing amazing things with both Sevilla and Villareal, and those two teams are always a pain in the ass for almost every team that faces them, including Barca and Madrid. They have great defenses like Atleti do but they also have attacking flair that Atleti lacks. Right now I’m watching the Barcelona-Villareal game and Villareal is really making Barca sweat. They play very very well and I wouldn’t be surprised if they win the Europa league.

    All I’m saying is that if Simeone doesn’t get his act together and change his flaws then he can’t hold us hostage because it’s not like he’s irreplaceable. I mean he did amazing things for Atleti but ironically he helped us come so far that even he can’t keep up with what we need right now. There are plenty of coaches especially in La Liga who could take our current squad and turn it into an attacking masterclass of a team while still preserving our defensive talent. If Simeone keeps being stubborn and stuck in his ways he will eventually drive away players like Grizi and Oliver and scare away other talents from coming to Atleti.

  • AndersAT

    I agree, I think we should play the kind of football we do, but we had more offensive strings to play on back then. But I think if we give our current squad time, and simeone gets a bit of offensive flair (and more focus on the set pieces again) in his game we will come good next season. I am really looking forward to seeing Baston in the squad. He looks like a different kind of attacker than our current attackers.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Patrick, do you know how much Simeone is earning ?! .. I mentioned it here before the 2nd leg against PSV,
    it is 6 million euros per season .
    I totally believe that all the names @Koke suggested can finish 3rd and reach UCL 1/4 final every single season while earning half of that amount, well, maybe except Pelligrini, but if he wasn’t offered a job at Arsenal or Milan or Inter or any other big club and we offered him 3 million per season I think he would agree .
    You arer talking about debt ?! .. if Simeone wasn’t LUCKY and lost the penalties against Bayer & PSV who are much less than Atelti we would have lost at least 12 million euros .

    Look, it’s very simple :
    There is no other coach in the world who could have won La Liga 2013/14 with Atleti, not even Pep or Mourinho, but there are too many coaches who can finish 3rd in La Liga and reach UCL 1/4 final every season with this budget (15th biggest budget in Europe) and those players, and with actually playing football .

    And they will also keep a solid defense like Simeone, look at Villarreal’s & Sevilla’s defense as @Koke pointed out, by numbers, they are the 3rd and 5th best defense in La Liga respectively, and with us they will even do better, because AGAIN :
    We have the most expensive GK in the history of La Liga, the RB of Spain, the LB of Brazil, and the 2 CBs of Uruguay .
    And by the way, Simeone didn’t sign any of those 5, Godin, Filipe & Juanfran were there before he came (and Manzano was the one who started turning Juanfran into a RB), Gimenez was a 19 year-old CB playing in Uruguay, and for Danubio, not even for Peñarol or Nacional, I strongly doubt that Simeone had any idea who he was, Caminero & Berta were the ones who discovered and signed him, Simeone only gave them the green light, or maybe he didn’t .
    While -according to Spanish media- Mono Burgos was the one who chose Oblak and Moya (the latter played with him at Mallorca) and he “vetoed” Keylor’s deal .

    I’m not attacking Simeone, I’m simply trying to say two thing :
    1- This is not all Simeone, he is the head of a great project that started before he even came .
    2- As @Koke said : Simeone just can’t hold us hostage because of that La Liga title .
    Well, unless he is planning and working on to do it again, because I still believe he is the only one who can win it with Atleti with 1/3 of Barca’s and Real’s budget, but to me, from what I’ve seen last season and this one, there isn’t any sign that it will happen again .
    In fact, I think losing our spot in the top 4 is closer than winning the title, without Torres’s goals against Villarreal & Levante last season we would have finished 5th, and next season when the collective selling of TV rights takes place and Sevilla, Valencia, Villarreal and all the other teams start to earn much more money, finishing 4th -rather than 3rd- will be very difficult, and because our debt that you mentioned, we can not afford missing the CL, not even for one season .

    Finally ; there is only one reason that makes me worried about replacing Simeone : the fans .
    I’m afraid that they will not support the new coach, or even attack him, I’m afraid that there are Cholo fans “Cholistas” more than Atletico fans, especially among young ones who only remember the 10 difficult years after the mismanagement of Jesus Gil lead us to relegation in 2000 .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Rudi Garcia -with our defenders instead of the clowns in Roma- can do great .
    Allegri could agree to coach us when he gets bored of competing with himself in Italy .
    A Mancini-Simeone switch .
    A Wenger-Simeone switch .
    And why not Mono Burgos ?!

    There are many options, and those who think that we can not live without Simeone are insulting the giant club of Atletico de Madrid .

  • Patrick English

    Sevilla is a very different team away than at home. They haven’t won on the road yet while winning all but their first two home fixtures. Atletico is the best away team in La Liga this season and I don’t wanna lose that. Marcelino has had one good season so I’m not ready to crown him as a top manager yet. Atletico definitely couldn’t afford Pellegrini because Italian and English teams will definitely be after him. I think it’s way too early to kick out a manager who brought Atletico back to glory after two “stagnant” seasons, and after they will probably total at least 90 points this season which is a huge improvement from last season. Ifhe goes 2 more years without silverware maybe it’ll be time. But I don’t think that will happen because this team (despite blips like today) has definitely improved this season especially given their youth and inexperience together. Fans and team presidents (such as Perez) are usually too trigger happy in firing managers. What makes Atletico better than Real is that they have a stable ownership/management that works.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I’m not asking to sack Simeone next summer, and I wouldn’t even sack him if he went 3 or 4 seasons without titles, I will take the 3rd place and UCL 1/4 final for 4 or 5 seasons, I can live with that, I said it many times .
    I will only sack him when he fails to qualify to UCL group stage, I wish it will never happen, but I’m afraid it will happen soon .

    You always can find an answer or an excuse for every single aspect about Simeone, he is so lucky to have a fan like you .

  • Patrick English

    He deserves fans like me. His record is better than every other manager currently employed in La Liga save Enrique. Atletico is 19 points clear of Sevilla this year. I don’t see them making up that gap anytime in the next 3 seasons.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    When they earn 70 million from TV broadcasting next season instead of the current 30 million, I think they will.
    Villarreal too, and maybe Valencia if they found a way to kick Peter Lim out .
    It’s true that we will earn between 90 and 100 million instead of 43 million, but I’m not sure if Simeone can and will use that money to sign the right players .
    As I said, most of our successful players -either who left or who are still here- came before him, while all the signings during his era were failures or ordinary players at best, except Grizi & Oblak . And time will judge those who came this season, including Carrasco & Savic .

  • Karlp

    With Atleti almost certain finish at 2/3, I hope Simeone will be more experimental with attacking in La Liga.
    The thing I see is,
    1. Let the player express themselves more freely, especially with player such as Oliver and Correa. Correa should be played in center and not as deep as he plays in this game. This is the most unrecognizable he plays I see all season.
    2. Play with higher line for all games, beside Real and Barca
    3. Play 4-3-3 wont help the attacking as long as the team play with such a deep line

    I wont change anything for the UCL ties.

  • atleti10

    No I don’t think we should play like Barca or Real because we don’t have the quality to play like them. I do think we are capable of playing like Leicester for example. Quick decisive counter attacking like we played in 13-14. At the moment the team look lost going forward.

    I’d like to see Griez, Carrasco and Vietto/Correa up front with Koke, Gabi/Tiago and Saul/Oliver behind them with one of the latter allowed push forward.

    Ultimately I don’t think the team should move too far away from the tactics that made them successful but in order to build on the success and grow I think a bit more of an attacking mentality is needed. But then what do I know..

  • Othman

    Simeone is doing a great work, but you cannot win all your games by grinta and defense.

    When facing some club like Gijon or Getafe, you must use your attacking potential to kill
    the game, we have talented players,, they rarely play, when we will need them, we will not find them. We have Automatism in defense, but not in attack.

  • Pegatinas y gradas

    Proud of our players !!!

    Cholo, you with us, we with you.

  • AndersAT

    Well i don’t think it is so simple to reach the final 8 in UCL 3 years in a row with the 15 biggest budget in the world. There seems to be some of the top 14 budget teams that can’t do that…

    We also had a big budget before simeone and didn’t get near the result we are getting now.

    With that said, I also think Emery, Marcellino or Bielsa could be good coaches for us

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    6 of those 14 are from England, while only 4 of them can play in UCL each season .
    Man City got Barca in round of 16 two seasons in a row, Chelsea against PSG two seasons in a row, Arsenal against Bayern two seasons in a row, while we got PSV, Leverkusen and a very bad version of AC Milan .
    Even if we finished 2nd in the group we can’t get Real or Barca .

    In 2010 our budget was 100 million, compared to 196 million this season .

    Guys, please look at all the circumstances and perspectives, please stop searching for excuses for Simeone when the mistakes are much bigger and more obvious, and please stop comparing him to Aguirre & Manzano and stop comparing this Atleti to the Atleti of Perea, Assunção, Ze Castro, Leo Franco, Ujfalusi & Pablo Ibañez .

    Reaching the quarter finals 3 seasons in a row is a great achievement, a historical one for Atleti, and we thank Simeone for that, but taking all circumstances in consideration, it’s not very special, he didn’t do the impossible, too many other coaches could have done the same .

  • Usavicente Calderon

    Are our expectations, as fans, to high these days? Yes. Since we won La Liga, we expect to be perfect. We are playing with the big boys now. Back in 2012 we won the UEFA Europa Copa. We were not playing with the big boys back then. But brought home those trophies. We are hungry for more, but our players are human and due to injury and many games in a short amount of time, we stumbled. It happens. As long as we are 3rd or higher and have 1/3 the money of Real and Barca, we should be content. Lets be happy with where we are and hope to improve. We need a striker that can score with Griezmann, that is our problem.