Atlético de Madrid 0 Athletic Club 2 Athletic Club defeated Atlético de Madrid 0-2 at…
Atlético de Madrid 0 Athletic Club 2
Athletic Club defeated Atlético de Madrid 0-2 at the Vicente Calderón; Toquero scored both goals from a pass from Iraola. Thanks to this triumph, our team has tipped the scales of this particular goalscoring average with regards to Atlético de Madrid in its favour, the team gets the monkey off their back when it comes to not winning at more important pitches in theory or matches that are considered as being a possible turning point, and what’s more the team has reaffirmed their spot as the sixth placed team with a five point lead over the seventh placed team. On the bad side Javi Martínez won’t be able to play next Saturday against Sporting for having exceeded his quota of bookings.
At last and to put the icing on the cake, a triumph of great value in what was an open match, especially in the first half, and nice to watch in situ or in three dimensions. The two teams used their weapons from the very start and the duel became a give and take affair with the Red-Whites, who were in black yesterday, ending up the winners. Javi Martínez came up with the first goalscoring opportunity with a strong shot at goal taken from a distance and repelled by De Gea. In our area Iraizoz had to make use of his foot when clearing Filipe’s devilish centre shot and Llorente made an attempt with his left on the half turn that was caught easily by the rival goalkeeper. Iraizoz caught a shot at goal taken by Forlán and shortly afterwards De Gea did the same to David López. Both teams were warming up and it was only the 13-minute mark, a prelude to an encounter that was anything but boring.
From here until the 30-minute mark the Colchoneros’ best moments were on show, loyal to their classical Atlético style that is to strike in a theoretically disorganised but often lethal manner with gifted strikers of undeniable class. In front of them was Athletic who imposed order, applied the pressure well in the midfield area, but were unable to make the most of the numerous occasions in which they stole the ball. Agüero took a good shot at goal in the 20th minute, but Iraizoz was alert, and straight afterwards was even more dangerous with a header that sailed over the crossbar. Reyes had a go in the 23rd minute, but Iraizoz saved the day with the ball ending up between his legs.
The very own Reyes was shown a yellow card that could have been a red one when knocking Koikili out of the way with his arm, an occurrence that put a damper on the local warrior-like ardour and that evenly distributed the chances of controlling the match once again. In the next play Toquero gave a warning, when he took a shot at goal with a header after intercepting a pass also struck with the head, that of Llorente’s, however, De Gea was spot on, just like Iraizoz was when he deflected Forlán’s great shot at goal, making the ball go over the crossbar.
The insults received by Carlos Gurpegi was a sign that things weren’t going as the local fans would have liked, especially during the quarter of an hour prior to the break. It’s obvious that it’s the same the whole world over and who knows if the reiteration of the denunciation may even cause a counter-productive effect, with the possible systematic repetition at other fields, but what happened yesterday deserves a note in the football annals. Barely a few weeks ago again at Vicente Calderón the referee included in his match report some not at all nice phrases about Mourinho (Real Madrid’s coach) in a match in which this person was not even present. The same thing occurred today to our player. Based on the precedents, perhaps it would be better if he covered himself in black shoe polish so that his difficult situation on the pitch won’t go unnoticed.
Nevertheless, there was no time to cool down and on the field of play things were also heating up. Kun put Iraizoz to the test in the 33rd minute; Martínez was shown his fifth yellow card this cycle and among comings and goings Toquero passed the ball, whilst in the area, to Llorente, with his chest but Perea obstructed the play from behind. A penalty and perhaps Perea deserved a harsh red card. The doubt being whether the striker’s position was a synonym of being within goal striking range or not. Muniain, David López and Llorente, among others, didn’t exactly give an image of harmony, as they argued over the ball and who was to kick it from the 11-metre line. Nonetheless, whether the glass is half empty or half full, let’s look at it this way the fact that players fervently show their willingness to take the free kick with a nil-all draw score on the scoreboard is a good sign and worth mentioning. And it was a shame, a big shame to say the least, that Llorente’s shot at goal went astray.
And it could have been worse, because in the 43rd minute an innocent loss of the ball in the midfield area allowed the locals to conduct a quick counterattack move but Forlán couldn’t beat Iraizoz who had stepped forward and the ball went out. Phew! Following the stream of emotions, the majority thought that the period left until the interval would be exempt from any more surprises. No way. The time was almost up, but a centre by Iraola from the right was struck by Toquero perfectly thus putting an end to his goalscoring drought, his statistical litany and his most recent memory, with relation to last season, in which he would play a goalless but good first half with the second ending in a bad way. To be honest, since people started to talk about the “Llorente-dependence”, besides the player Number 9, players like Javi Martínez, Muniain and Toquero have enjoyed once more the sensation of scoring a goal.
In the second half Quique Sánchez sent Domínguez in to replace Elías, thus forming a line of three with Ujfalusi and Godín, and a quartet in front, Reyes, Tiago, Assunçao and Filipe along with Kun and Forlán who were hardly inclined towards leaving the field’s hot spots. The risk was obvious and fresh in the memory was the lesson shown on TV the evening before in the match between Deportivo-Sevilla with a score of 2-0 and one more player on the pitch, or closer to home when Almería were unable to beat our team with one or two more players on the pitch.
Despite Athletic having stepped onto the field with the aim of sealing the match, by way of a great goalscoring opportunity by Llorente who had received a pass to the centre by Koikili, however, to De Gea’s relief he saw how it went out, Atlético played all their cards, though timidly, during the first minutes, first with a high header by Godín, a line shot by Reyes that was caught by Iraizoz and these were the moments that stood out.
Orbaiz stepped in for Gurpegi in the 58th minute and Athletic slowly regained their composure concerning ball possession as well as the speed of the ball so that the one to run was the rival. Besides they were soon to give their enemy in the race for the European placings a final blow, seeing that Toquero scored his second goal in the 64th minute following a collective play that was well orchestrated, that ended with a pass to the centre by Iraola and Toquero’s shot at goal at point blank range. The superiority was palpable on the pitch, and now also on the scoreboard. What’s more, our team, despite the inexperience of many of its members, knew how to handle the situation maturely combining attack with an absence or risk taking. Toquero even had another chance of scoring the third goal, but his shot went astray.
From the time the second goal was scored up until the end, the match felt as though it were under control and also it could be seen how the supporters, those that had remained, had a go at their club officials and some of their players. Juanfran replaced Filipe and it was this player who had the only rival goalscoring opportunity, by way of a chip shot, but in the dying stages of the clash. On our behalf Iturraspe who had taken Toquero’s place, Javi Martínez and David López, twice, could have scored, but to assure the three very important points, and not just on a mathematical level, was enough.
It was tough to associate a goal with a surname other than that of Llorente’s (now the number of goalscorers has gotten larger) it was difficult for our team to win away from home (with only seven points won in the last three away games) it was hard not to concede any goals (no goals in the last two matches and two goals in the last four) it was difficult to win two matches in a row at San Mamés (achieved against Racing and Hércules) and it was tough to beat rivals with a greater budget. One more for the list.
Let’s see if this winning streak continues, being absolutely sure that the job to be done is still not over. All of which, as a curious piece of information, in a match day round in which all the Red-White teams won (Athletic men and women, Bilbao Athletic, Baskonia, the two junior teams, the two cadet teams, the two youth teams, the four youngster teams and the female B team).