(EFE) – In the narrow margin of error that the Champions League moves, Joao Félix saved three crucial points for Atlético de Madrid, on the verge of an undoubted mess in Group A of the tournament until the comeback of the Portuguese attacker, whose two goals, the final 3-2 in the 85th minute, overcame an infamous 1-2.
He did not miss the victory this Tuesday of the rojiblanco team, for all the occasions he had, but neither would the 2-2 on which he moved much of the second half, between the ups and downs on the field of the block led by Diego Simeone, that he managed with difficulties the 4-0 that he assumed with too much conformity on the first day due to the superiority of Bayern.
The current Atlético is a mystery. Discover an unpredictable condition that makes it unreliable. And vulnerable. Even more so in his midfield, perhaps the core of many of his problems, but not all, because there are also the full-backs, especially the right wing, and because he concedes in defense and forgives up, although he has resources that win games. This Tuesday was the scorer Joao Félix.
It is overwhelming for anyone when they receive it in conditions and their choice is correct. The problem is that it still does not happen with all the constancy that his team needs, because it is indisputable that the rojiblanco group requires the individualities of the ‘7’. There is no better demonstration than the uncertain European clash on Tuesday.
He has the lucidity and impudence that Atlético lacks in the last meters. Also the talent. And the goal. There is no doubt in that sense about the Portuguese attacker, but there is in other parameters. In the positioning, in the intensity, in the pressure and, above all, in the selection of the moment of each dribble, to choose one maneuver or another, a pass or a driving …
An example was his acrobatic Chilean finish on the edge of a quarter of an hour. Still 0-0 and against the goalkeeper. A wonderful movement, as much as the air delivery to the back of the defense that Héctor Herrera gave him, imprecise as many times as accurate when he imagined and executed that pass. But perhaps exaggerated. Perhaps a simple volley would have been much more effective, more definitive, as it was in the other two goals just when the match had gone awry.
Because, even with only two days more, the game was crucial. Bayern winner a few hours earlier in Moscow against Lokomotiv (1-2) to insist that the first place has an undoubted favorite, the pressure fell on Atlético; at home, with Salzburg, with Luis Suárez ready …
And with Marcos Llorente as a midfielder in defense, but a surprising offensive element in attack between the lines. A disturbance for the weak system behind Salzburg, which suffered such consequences within half an hour because it defends poorly and because when he drives in the last meters he has the determination that many lack.
His shot with the left at the edge of the area, after a lateral run, after a rebound, was nothing to write home about. Neither by power nor by placement nor by complexity. Stankovic, the visiting goalkeeper, did not make the save he should have either. The outcome was 1-0 on the brink of half an hour of a then more or less comfortable duel, from which Daka, his rival’s best scorer, said goodbye.
It was not enough. When he felt the game was his own, when his opponent became less evident in attack, an inconceivable loss once again pointed to the Mexican Héctor Herrera with the same clarity that he rediscovered a path to Salzburg that he did not even intuit, which with two more passes from one side they were enough for the other to find 1-1 and Szoboszlai, on his first relevant occasion.
It was the 40th minute. It also promoted another barrage of doubts in an Atlético that always has them lurking. Even more so when a minute and a second of the second half received the 1-2. Unexpected? Yes Strange? No. On the highway that the rojiblanco team offers today on its right wing, the pass emerged that surpassed the entire area, including Oblak, and that Berisha launched.
Luckily, Atlético, still in a less conclusive version of what it claims, has Luis Suárez – later traded for Lemar with 2-2 and nine minutes to go – or Joao Félix. Between the two, plus Correa’s sum, they dismounted the Salzburg defense to regain the tie four minutes later: the Uruguayan attacker picked it up in midfield, connected with his Portuguese colleague, who in turn made a wall with Correa and that , later, he signed the irrefutable 2-2.
Atlético is not there to forgive anyone. He did it for a while. Already with 2-2, with the same protagonist, with a header and with a volley. Also Koke within the area. Until the 85th minute, when Joao Félix hit the final volley on a ball that had no apparent destination until it fell to him. Goal and victory.