(EFE) – With two goals in his only two shots, with an unusual punch, Villarreal was the winner until the last play, until the transfer of the head by Aissa Mandi, which surprised Gerónimo Rulli and ended in an unforeseen and improper goal, which saved a point for Atlético de Madrid.
In the 95th minute, when the referee was about to whistle the end, when a pass to nothing ended up in the power of Mandi, who did the easiest thing: to give the ball back. Rulli was not in his place, he sensed another situation, he could not react in time to avoid a draw that, on the other hand, lightened the injustice with the rojiblanco team.
About to beat Diego Simeone for the first time, with the added conviction and confidence that it means for any team to win in a stadium like the Wanda Metropolitano, the home of the current champion, even more so with everything Villarreal had endured and suffered. Until then, Unai Emery didn’t believe it. Not in his worst imaginations.
But the only aspect that the Castellón team won in the 90 minutes is the most decisive, it is the one that so many times – for example only seven days ago against Elche – has led Atlético to victory; the forcefulness that makes the difference whatever the game is, because the local team played much more than their adversary.
It was not enough for the current champion when he saw the leadership of LaLiga Santander, because Yeremi Pino, first, dodged two rivals to invite Manu Trigueros to the right scorer, in the 52nd minute, and because, later, with the 1-1 scored for Luis Suárez in 55, he competed for a ball that was not his, took advantage of Savic’s error and gave the rookie Danjuma the chance to win: 1-2. In both situations, the young winger benefited from a rebound.
Nothing fair with everything that Atlético proposed, who played like the current champion of the tournament that he is and with the pretense of being the leader that he was already offering on the third day. Compared to the first two dates with as many victories, the rojiblanco team played much better. And he proved and deserved more than he achieved: one point.
Because in his match against Villarreal, the reigning champion of the Europa League, a competitor also in the Champions League, a rival of height and structure, so prepared by Unai Emery, even with a frame of six behind when he was waiting in the fold, at times unleashed the most imposing version of Atlético, when he unleashes all his ambition on the rival, when he presses and plays at full speed, when he has ground to run, propose and overflow, as Carrasco and Lemar do, when he perceives himself capable of anything, no matter how much such risk exposes him in his rear, where he did allow in excess.
And when Koke is in that omnipresent mode, with which he predicts and channels everything that comes up in the game, with or without the ball. Play and play. But he also recovers the ball, because his tactical sense almost always places him in the exact place. From his football, Atlético rebelled against the plan that Villarreal proposed, even without absolute constancy, so complex in an entire match.
Unai Emery had never beaten Diego Simeone. Until this Sunday. But perhaps there is no coach who has caused more problems for the Argentine coach in each game in LaLiga in recent times. A year ago, he turned off Atlético like almost no one did; he insisted now, he did not succeed, but he did discover an unexpected success, among other things because the locals crashed against his ineffectiveness.
Villarreal held the ball more by control than by ambition, in a tiresome exercise that almost never dared to take another step, except for someone else’s failure, such as the one that enabled Gerard Moreno within the area, or the goals; Atlético, relieved when Correa’s tackle was yellow and it could have been more in the first act, handled the ball with a single destination, the rival goal, thrown by Lemar and Carrasco, who almost always dismounted the opponent’s right flank.
Atlético finds inspiration in speed. He missed the goal in the first half. And in the second. More Luis Suárez, who later appeared at his appointment in his first title of the course. Even without the decisive intervention of his ‘9’, his most infallible scorer, the 0-0 at halftime was a matter of millimeters. Because between Rulli and the post they cleared a shot from Lemar, because Capoue crossed Carrasco’s shot and because Mandi repelled Trippier’s header.
In the intermission, LaLiga statistics showed 13-0 in shots against Villarreal, resistant and little more in the Wanda Metropolitano in the first half, but, suddenly, in the second, on his first occasion, on his first approach, he hit with an unexpected roundness, incisive in his first shot on goal: the play was by Yeremi Pino, the culmination of Manu Trigueros.
Atlético had done everything until then to win. And lost. But even such a setback did not diminish his superiority. His tie was also suddenly, due to the faith of Marcos Llorente, due to Villarreal’s own imprecision in a throw-in in his territory, next to his corner, due to the assistance of Correa and Luis Suárez, who took advantage of all that. with an accurate goal (1-1).
In three minutes, the rojiblanco team had equalized the game. In three minutes, due to an improper failure of this level, Villarreal had yielded 1-1, with all that it had cost them to approach the Oblak area, more concerned with playing with the stopwatch than with the ball, with a whole world still to compete and with half an hour to play, the last 20 without Luis Suárez, who limped off.
In the 74th minute, it was the unexpected moment for Villarreal. And again from Yeremi Pino, who took advantage of the indecision between Savic and Giménez and the failed clearance of the Montenegrin center-back to give a victory to his fans and Danjuma, the 1-2 scorer, who was not due to a major failure, for a gift between Mandi and Rulli.
– Data sheet:
2 – Atlético de Madrid: Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Giménez (Lodi, m. 86), Hermoso (Kondogbia, m. 79), Carrasco (De Paul, m. 69); Llorente, Koke, Lemar (Matheus Cunha, m. 79); Correa, Luis Suárez (Saúl, d. 69).
2 – Villarreal: Rulli; Foyth, Albiol, Mandi, Estupiñan (Danjuma, m. 61); Yeremi Pino (Mario Gaspar, m. 79), Trigueros, Capoue, Alberto Moreno (Pedraza, m. 61); Gerard Moreno, Dia (Coquelin, d. 61).
Goals: 0-1, m. 52: Manu Trigueros. 1-1, m. 55: Luis Suarez. 2-1, m. 74: Danjuma. 2-2, m. 95: Mandi, own door.
Referee: Soto Grado (C. Castilla-La Mancha). He admonished the locals Correa (m. 28), Lemar (m. 44), Luis Suárez (m. 59) and De Paul (m. 84), in addition to his coach, Diego Simeone (m. 16), and the visitors Gerard Moreno (m. 60) and Rulli (m. 84).
Incidents: match corresponding to the third day of LaLiga Santander played at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium before 26,840 spectators.