On the day of his 120th birthday, Atlético gave away football and a hard-fought and well-resolved victory against a feisty Mallorca that could not sustain Nastasic’s initial goal. De Paul, Morata and Carrasco turned around a duel in which Simeone’s team confirmed their cachet as the best team in the League after the World Cup break. He won and convinced before a fan that went to the noisy event for the anniversary to celebrate.
Ivo Grbic, Carrasco, Giménez, Mario Hermoso, Nahuel Molina, Witsel, De Paul (Saúl, min. 62), Lemar (Pablo Barrios Rivas, min. 62), Koke (Kondogbia, min. 78), Morata (Correa, min. 78) and Griezmann
Predrag Rajkovic, Pablo Maffeo, Nastasic (Antonio Sánchez, min. 45), Copete, Jaume Costa, Dennis Hadzikadunic, Manu Morlanes (Amath, min. 55), Iddrisu Baba, Dani, Ángel (Lee Kang-In, min. 55) and Abdón Prats (Muriqi, min. 55)
goals 0-1 min. 19: Nastásic. 1-1 min. 46: Morata. 2-1 min. 47: Paul’s. 3-1 min. 77: Carrasco.
Referee Juan Luis Pulido Santana
The substitutions of Muriqi and Kang-in Lee, the two most decisive footballers in Mallorca, surprised. However, the reduction of the lineup by Aguirre was not a reduction. The Basque coach is a creator of solid structures. He may be one of the coaches who has gotten the most out of the defenses of three centrals. Around them he mounts a spider web woven with the joint efforts of wingers, midfielders and forwards. Under these coordinates, Aguirre has made a career on the bench. And under those parameters, Atlético knew that, normally, the Mexican teams have to win the games.
So Atlético, without Oblak and Llorente, injured, and without Savic, suspended, found themselves in control of the game from the start. With the obligation to look for cracks in the dikes that Mallorca installed throughout their own field. He tried it, above all, on the side of Carrasco, who became the team’s official driller, although he stayed in many attempts. In that sense, the Belgian has no reproach. Yes there are for Lemar, on the way, if he is not already, a nice player to see in training. In games he plays timid. Neither he teaches the dribbling that he has, nor his fine left foot to filter harmful passes. For all this, Atlético paid Monaco 70 million euros for 70% of his pass, but there is hardly a trace of those qualities after five years at the club. Lemar is limited to delivering the ball correctly. Perhaps it is no longer a coincidence that some of his best games took place in times of a pandemic, with the stands empty and without having to face stage fright. To give volume to the game with security passes there are already other footballers. Lemar should be a different footballer, but he doesn’t stand out and it’s a shame because he dares very little with it.
There are games in which the hierarchy and presence rule, and Atlético had several that imposed them after Mallorca went ahead after 20 minutes. The entire Atlético defense swallowed that Copete let the ball pass between his legs at the near post. For the second Nastasic appeared without any mark to push the goal with his head, knees on the ground. Mallorca had not shown much in attack, beyond a touch by Morlanes and some maneuver by Ángel and Abdón, and they found themselves with an advantage on the scoreboard. The ideal match in Aguirre’s head.
Grisaceo Griezmann, who was missed by his team as an inventor and discoverer of holes, was Mario Hermoso who led Atlético’s push. He settled in the opposite field and as soon as he drew inside passes to the area as he leaned to the left side to put in crosses. On the right, Nahuel Molina also percussed. The Argentine is another of those who is accumulating gallons game by game. He was the object of a penalty that was indicated by the referee. He was the first that Atlético was whistled so far this season, but the referee’s review on the screen, after warning from the VAR, annulled it. Everything indicated that Atlético would go to rest at a disadvantage when Hermoso had another racial outburst on the periphery of the area. His cross picked it up and Griezmann finished it off hard, who was hit by Rajkovic’s clearance. The Frenchman’s center was no longer wasted by De Paul, who burst it next to the post.
With the match, Atlético came out in the second act determined to disarm Mallorca on the fast track. It didn’t take long to do it. Nahuel Molina abandoned his good leg, the right, to put a closed thread with his left to the penalty spot. There the majestic Morata rose to execute a manual neck turn suspended in the air. Rajkovic also only had to turn his neck, in his case to contemplate how Morata’s formidable shot moved away until describing an unattainable trajectory. Since Memphis, now injured, has ousted him from the starting lineup, Morata turns each goal into a rabid claim. Yesterday he was no less, shouting the goal like a man possessed and beating his chest hard.
Already at a disadvantage, Aguirre tried to regain the pulse of the match by bringing on Muriqi and Kang-in Lee. The Korean was more tough and threatening with some of his dizzying drives that found no door. Atlético did find it in a counter in which Carrasco started alone from the center of the field to seat Rajkovic with a waist dance that put the icing on the cake for Atlético’s birthday.
The first shirt and the first shield
Light show at the end of the match, living legends such as Adelardo, Luiz Pereira, Fernando Torres, Solozábal, Toni, Manolo, Pantic, Gabi, the women’s team, the glories of handball… and clothing that paid tribute to the first of his story. On its 120th anniversary, Atlético de Madrid wore a half blue and half white shirt. These were the colors chosen by a group of Basque students who met on Calle Cruz and decided to found a branch of Athletic Bilbao in Madrid. From the historic clothing that Simeone’s footballers wore, the first shield was also on, in which neither the bear nor the strawberry tree appeared. This first shield, which was in force until 1917, was a belt that surrounded a soccer ball and the initials of Athletic Club appeared between the last concentric circle.
The first honoree of the afternoon, before the match, was Konrad, the Polish fan who had a Spanish flag with the Atlético shield removed at the Camp Nou because it was placed on a billboard. According to the Polish fan, he was also forced to take off his shirt. Barcelona, in a statement, stated that the rojiblanco fan took off his shirt voluntarily.
After the match, the parade of legends began, of the women, of the players of the historic handball team (Cecilio Alonso, Parrilla) and of the current squad, in which Diego Pablo Simeone was acclaimed. The counterpoint was the whistles at President Enrique Cerezo when he went to the center of the field to pose for the photo of the rojiblanca family. The act was closed with the acapella chant of the Atlético anthem.
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