Atlético is already in the Champions League after passing over Osasuna | Sports

Saúl is part of those strangers of footballer stagnations. Players who can have almost everything and suddenly have nothing. In this Atlético it has been residual, but this Sunday it has been decisive for Atlético to defeat Osasuna. That hard-legged and lethal arrival midfielder appeared to sign the start of the play for the first goal and begin to end the match with a goal that was very his. From the time when he was a jackhammer every time he looked out on the balcony of the area. Correa put the finishing touch on a duel in which Atlético performed an exercise in efficiency and forcefulness when their rival revealed themselves.



Ivo Grbic, Carrasco (Reguilón, min. 84), Giménez, Mario Hermoso, Nahuel Molina, Witsel, Koke (Pablo Barrios Rivas, min. 84), Saúl, De Paul (Kondogbia, min. 84), Morata (Correa, min. 45) and Griezmann (Carlos Martín, min. 89)



Herrera, Rubén Peña (Pablo Ibáñez, min. 68), Aridane, David García, Manu Sánchez, Jon Moncayola, Aimar Oroz, Lucas Torró (Iker Muñoz, min. 74), Ante Budimir (Kike García, min. 68), Rubén García (Kike Barja, min. 68) and Chimy Ávila (Juan Cruz, min. 45)

goals 1-0 min. 44: Carrasco. 2-0 min. 61: Saul. 3-0 min. 82: Strap.

Referee Pablo Gonzalez Strong

Yellow cards Against Budimir (min. 28) and Rubén Peña (min. 65)

The victory gave Atlético to certify their qualification for the Champions League three days from the end. The eleventh time in a row that Diego Pablo Simeone meets the objective that conditions sports planning season by season. This Atlético installed on the first line of the showcase is only viable with the economic manna of the great European competition. To play it next season, Simeone and his footballers have had to sign an almost impeccable second part of the season. With what was offered before the break for the World Cup in Qatar, it did not work.

Simeone’s merit has been to lift up a team that was emitting very bad signals at the end of October. Getting out of the hole was also a test for the Argentine coach himself. He and his footballers have recovered in time to ensure another season in the great European elite. They were able to do it last week in Elche, but the four days of rest granted by the coach led to the worst game of the second round for the rojiblancos.

Against Osasuna, from the start, a more plugged-in team was seen and more aware of the need to close the Champions League spot. Simeone did not trust what his footballers and his uncomfortable rival could bring. The demands of the game and what was at stake led him to abandon the idea that he matured during the week of lining up Pablo Barrios to cover the loss of the injured Lemar. He preferred Saúl’s trade, physique and hierarchy even though he is far from the footballer he was and can be. It does not hurt the club to show him with a view to a possible sale that relieves him of a high file. Saúl responded with the best match of his in a long time. He evoked that player with a powerful stride in a drive and a thread that crashed into the post. Behind Aridane and David García there was a world when Osasuna decided to press Atlético’s ball out. The same meadow and the same sequence as Saúl opened up for Griezmann and the end was the same: he shot at the post. That first stretch was the best for Atlético in the entire first half. With Carrasco as the obligatory troublemaker because the team has taken a chronic inclination to attack on the left. This excess is a defect that turned the rojiblancos into a predictable team and allowed a certain growth of a timorous Osasuna until then, visibly affected by the losses of Abde and Moi Gómez.

Jagoba Arrasate’s team caught more of the ball. Torró and Moncayola entered the scene more and Chimy Ávila and Budimir tried a skirmish. Both met an imperial Giménez in the air game. The control exercised by Osasuna seemed to condemn the first half to a draw. Until a dispute over an aerial ball in midfield opened another gap behind Aridane and David García. He ran over Morata in his clearance attempt and the ball fell to Sául. Eager, the midfielder sent Griezmann running. On the other side accompanied the against Carrasco, who pushed the ball at will.

The blow to the head left Morata in the locker room and Correa took his place. A firm Atlético emerged behind Osasuna’s attempts to complicate his life with lateral centers that confirmed Giménez’s authoritarian afternoon. And to the minimum that he could he ended up airing the game. A steal from Koke and a sneaky pass from De Paul to cut through the middle of Saúl’s area. The control with the chest and the blow to the squad revived the best version of him. That of that midfielder who claimed to be an eight arriver and dazzled big clubs in the Premier. Correa closed the account after a combination with De Paul, another of the architects of the resurrection that has so relieved Simeone and the club’s leadership.

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