Atlético resumes its streak and follows in the wake of second place

A brace from Griezmann upsets Almería (2-1)


Atlético de Madrid beat UD Almería 2-1 this Sunday thanks to a double by French striker Antoine Griezmann, in a match corresponding to matchday 29 of LaLiga Santander and which has served the colchoneros to consolidate their third position in the table, thus following in the wake of Real Madrid in their particular fight to win the league runner-up.

Although FC Barcelona discounts calendar pages to tie up the title, gradually based on draws, the mathematics still allow their pursuers to exhaust their possibilities and dream of a culé catastrophe. While Madrid had done their homework in the Saturday session, winning 2-0 on their visit to Cádiz, Atlético needed to defeat the Almería team 24 hours later.

Thus, Diego Pablo Simeone’s pupils returned to the Cívitas Metropolitano to league activity to resume their positive streak. More than three months without losing was a good guarantee to scare Almería, immersed in the fight not to descend to the Second Division. However, Atleti had lost to Besiktas (2-0) in a weekly friendly and that could raise doubts.

To dispel them, the locals came out almost in a torrent and Antoine Griezmann promptly warned of the danger, taking a long-range free kick whose shot went over the crossbar. Just a few minutes later, at 4′, the Argentines Nahuel Molina and Ángel Correa stole a ball together that ended in a corner kick, as a prelude to the first goal.

Belgian full-back Yannick Carrasco took that corner to the near post, where Correa extended his head backwards, so that in the small area Griezmann jumped away from Alejandro Centelles and headed into the back of the net. Spurred on by the 1-0, ‘Cholo’ Simeone’s men became masters of the game’s dynamics, without conceding spaces behind.

Correa, much applauded by the stands of the Metropolitan after the recent death of his mother, was about to score with an ingenuity in the 26th minute. Well positioned in the rival area, he received a filtered pass from Griezmann while turning on control and immediately finished off rabona. The beating invited the left-handed, but the ’10’ mattress player shot with his right hand.

Although the ball went over the Almería goal, it made clear the confidence that Atleti had to solve the match up to that moment. The visitors had not shot on goal and Jan Oblak was a luxury spectator of the game, but the paradox was that almost his first intervention came to pick up the ball from the bottom of his domain.

A bad pass from Correa towards his teammates in defense, towards his own half, meant an involuntary assist for Leo Baptistao to gallop down the left wing. The former Atleti player won that race against Axel Witsel and shot as soon as he got into the local area. His shot bounced off Josema Giménez, who had dived to the ground to cover the gap, and the ball’s parable passed Oblak over his head until it slipped through.


When everything seemed to indicate an equalizer at halftime, Griezmann appeared again to stretch his team. The ‘8’ mattress made it 2-1 after a good combination of his and Correa on the balcony of the Andalusian area, sending the ball to the left side; there, Carrasco tempered and dribbled past a defender before assisting Griezmann.

The Frenchman hit dry, point blank and from below, with his left foot. Thanks to that energy shot, Cholo’s men sought the sentence upon their return from the locker room. Of course, they took a nap until minute 60, when they finished off the same stick on two occasions. First Carrasco tried it with a left footed blow from the house; and almost immediately afterwards, Griezmann himself came close to his ‘hat-trick’ after an assist from Llorente.

Almería was groggy, because not even with the changes made by his coach Rubi was he emboldened. But in the final stages, given the relaxation of the local team, he pulled out his claws to put Oblak in trouble in a couple of plays with poison. The people from Almería even claimed a penalty, the result of a ball touched by Giménez with his left arm, thanks to a lateral center without excessive danger.

The VAR review, which was made to wait because the ball did not leave the field, determined that there was a previous offside by visiting striker Luis Suárez. There the options of Rubi’s pupils ran out, located on the brink of relegation with 30 points. For its part, Atlético reached 60 points with this good harvest to follow only two behind Madrid.


–RESULT: ATLÉTICO DE MADRID, 2 – ALMERÍA, 1 (2-1, at halftime).


ATHLETIC MADRID: Oblak; Molina, Witsel, Gimenez, Hermoso, Carrasco; Llorente, Koke, De Paul (Barrios, min.78); Griezmann and Correa (Morata, min.64).

ALMERIA: Fernando; Kaiky (Embarba, min.84), Ely, Babic; Centelles, Costa, Robertone (Ramazani, min.68), Mendes (Puigmal, min.58); Melero (De la Hoz, min.68), Baptistao (Portillo, min.68) and Luis Suárez.


1-0, min.5: Griezmann.

1-1, min.37: Giménez (pp).

2-1, min.44: Griezmann.

–REFEREE: Díaz de Mera Escuderos (C.Castellano-La Mancha). He yellow carded Llorente (min.77) and Barrios (min.90 + 4) at Atlético de Madrid; and to Babic (min.28), Ely (min.49), Rubi (min.90+3) and Ramazani (min.90+4) in Almería.

–STADIUM: Cívitas Metropolitano, 59,204 spectators.

By Lay

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