Atletico Madrid 1-0 Eibar Match Report
Saul Niguez all but secured a top 4 La Liga finish for Atlético de Madrid in a 1-0 victory over Eibar on a hot Saturday afternoon.
They have cemented their third spot and they just need a draw in their remaining 2 league games to secure a top 3 La Liga finish.
Atlético’s hopes of a possible European Glory dealt a huge blow when they were hammered 3-0 by Real Madrid at Santiago on Tuesday. They returned to La Liga action today – under pressure to pick up a win against Eibar. They were looking to make strong amendments for their 3-0 loss at Santiago Bernabéu but at the end they could only defeat Eibar by a margin of 1-0 – with a comparitively ( in comparison with their previous League performances ) poor defensive show.
Atlético were not able to cope up with the physical defence of Eibar as they couldn’t even get a shot on target in the first half, but an improved performance in the second half helped them to bag 3 crucial points.
Atlético stepped on the turf of Calderon with a two points lead and a game in hand over fourth placed Sevilla.
Diego Simeone had earlier decided to make three changes to the Atletico side that started the defeat against Real Madrid during the week, with Thomas Partey, Nicolas Gaitan and Angel Correa coming into the starting line-up to replace Stefan Savic, Yannick Carrasco and Kevin Gameiro, respectively. But Simeone was forced to make a late change to Atlético’s line-up, with Carrasco replacing Correa – who eventually came in as Griezmann’s substitute in the 86th minute.
Eibar pressed Atlético in the opening minutes and that led to many chances. The first one came in the 3rd minute when Sergi Enrich muscled his way towards the penalty area but he was eventually dispossessed before he could get a shot away.
The first real chance to score came in the 8th minute when Kike teed off Inui, who then took on Thomas. He got the better of the makeshift right-back and then unleashed a thumping strike, but that was well saved by Jan Oblak.
Atlético soon settled in and started to create chances. Their first chance to score came in the 12th minute when Koke and Gaitan linking up well deep down the right before the latter teed up Saul. The midfielder broke into the penalty area and beat his marker before unleashing a chipped shot, but it sailed over the top of the crossbar and on to the roof of the net.
Antoine Griezmann was shown a Yellow Card in the 15th minute for a late tackle on Ivan Ramis.
Koke went amazingly close to scoring when a low cross from Griezmann was cut out by Lejeune but only cleared as far as Koke, who then stabbed a first-time strike just wide of the near post.
The referee turned a deaf ear to a legitimate penalty call by the Atlético players. In the 30th minute Inui committed a clumsy foul over on the left wing and conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position. It was swung into the heart of the penalty area and seemed to strike the arm of Ramis, but the referee waved away the hosts’ protests.
Atlético had a huge chance to take the lead in the 33rd minute through Carrasco. The Belgian took a darting run into the Eibar box before taking on Ramis once again. This time he got the better of the defender before cutting on to his right foot and shooting, but his effort was nowhere near the target.
After a lengthy period on the back foot, Eibar were finally able to carve out another chance on goal in the 35th minute. A low cross was fired in from the right wing by Pedro Leon and found Sergi Enrich in front of goal, but the striker could only send his low, first-time shot straight into the hands of Oblak.
Ramis was shown a Yellow Card in the 43rd minute for a tackle on Luis.Saul had an excellent opportunity to score just before the half-time. Thomas muscled his way past David Junca on the right-hand side of the Eibar box before cutting a lovely pass back to Saul, who met the ball well before firing his first-time shot just over the top of the crossbar.
Atlético decided to make one substitution during the half-time break, with Torres coming on to replace Gaitan. Eibar made their first change in the 59th minute when Ramis was taken out for Alejandro Galvez.
Griezmann had an excellent chance to score near the hour mark. The Frenchman got himself into a great position just outside of the Eibar penalty area and shot quickly, but his save was stopped by Yoel. The goalkeeper fumbled the ball slightly but was able to get it under control before Carrasco could pounce.
Atlético finally got the goal they were starving for in the 69th minute. It all started when Godin charged down the left flank on an excellent run before firing a low cross towards the edge of the penalty area, where it found Saul. The midfielder was in a pocket of space and managed to rifle a wonderful strike past Yoel and into the bottom left-hand corner of the net to make it 1-0 for Atlético.
Saul had another opportunity to score and bag a brace when a lofted pass forward found Torres, who immediately set up Saul with a lovely back-heel. The midfielder then unleashed a thumping strike as he tried to find his second goal of the game, but that was well stopped by Yoel.
Godin dispossessed Enrich with a well-timed sliding taken but reacted angrily to the linesman’s decisions to award a corner and the referee was quick enough to hand him a Yellow Card for dissent.
An off-the-ball argument broke out in the middle of the pitch, and the referee bead quick enough to show a Red Card to Godin. Nobody understood that what is going on, but the referee was adamant that he needed to leave the pitch immediately.
Garcia was shown a yellow too. He received a yellow card after having a heated conversation with the fourth official.
An excellent block by Tiago in the last minute ensured Atlético that they will go home with three points. Eibar threw everything they had got at Atletico as they tried hard to find a late equaliser. The ball bounced over to Junca on the edge of the penalty area and he quickly shot, but his rocket of a strike was well stopped by Tiago just as it looked to be sailing into the back of the net.
Eibar pushed for an equaliser as the half went on, while Simeone introduced Tiago for Carrasco after 78 minutes as they look to see out the rest of the game.
Atletico were looking comfortable in the closing stages but they ended match with 10 men after Godin was sent off for a second bookable offence.
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