Atlético Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao – Game Report – September 18, 2021

Atlético Madrid vs.  Athletic Bilbao - Game Report - September 18, 2021

(EFE) – Atlético de Madrid is still filming, which visualizes in its idea a dimension that it does not yet have, without the perseverance or speed in the game that it intends, without even the level that Antoine Griezmann or Joao Félix should give it , sent off, and tied at zero by Athletic, with the regret of the two lost occasions by Iñaki Williams and Asier Villalibre against Jan Oblak.

The double yellow to the Portuguese attacker in minute 77, for brace to loosen a grip, first, and for a contemptuous gesture to the referee, later, was one of the images of the duel, but it did not seem so decisive for the outcome of the match, Immovable 0-0, the two teams unable to win the clash. Also Griezmann, Joao, Luis Suárez, Carrasco … Or Iñaki Williams.

There was almost no voltage from the fans when ‘Griezmann’ sounded through the speakers. Quarrel, something; applause, too. It already seems a matter settled, neither as widespread nor as majority as it was suspected, assumed as is the return of a footballer who, beyond his last escape to Barcelona, ​​is the leap that the current champion must take this course.

But, today, Atlético, Simeone and Griezmann have a problem. The ‘8’ of the French international is seen on the ground, but not in the dimension that is assumed, in that crucial and incontestable figure that he was in the past, in the conclusive version for which he searched for him and found him this same summer.

It is not only a matter of Griezmann. It is also collective. A team matter. Because Atlético still has neither the speed of transition nor the volume of play sufficient to propose one of its most decisive men in the zones and in the most appropriate conditions to exploit all its virtues.

Neither he, substituted in the 54th minute, does not risk excessively. He is not the leader he should be, especially this Saturday in the lineup that Simeone set up. Headlines Luis Suárez and Joao Félix on Wednesday, Griezmann and Correa took the alternative. Also Rodrigo de Paul, whose passes aim much higher than what happens later; Trippier’s depth and his overflowing connection with Llorente -the only thing visible in attack in the first half, with two separate shots from Griezmann-, the unpredictable Lodi -today, for worse-, and Savic.

It was not a question of regularity in the first half, but of quantity, speed, creativity. From Atlético, which only found something with Trippier and Llorente, and from Athletic Club, which also presents a good structure, reduced the Madrid team to little in attack in the first half, it appears when it has the ball … And it stays in nothing in the final meters. In truth.

Except for the beginning, the first part was a slumber at nap time. A contained pulse. No one dared to overtighten. Neither Atlético nor Athletic, who fluttered through Jan Oblak’s area waiting for his chance, but without the conviction that a defense like the rival demands. Giménez thwarted the best option from Bilbao, as Kondogbia later did, apart from a bad shot from Williams.

He is not a scorer. At least in the whole expression of that word. It was evident when at the beginning of the second half he was left alone against Oblak, by the pass of Raúl García -perfect to break a whole line- and by the desperate exit of Giménez. At the final moment, before the goalkeeper, he settled the ball on his right with all the time in the world. And it failed. He did not even demand the stoppage of the Slovenian goalkeeper, who aimed his shot outside the frame.

Before, Correa had finished off, the only good center in Lodi, but no one had had a more advantageous opportunity than that of Iñaki Williams, who also invited Simeone to the first changes, to the first resources, including the replacement of the injured Kondogbia by Herrera. Luis Suárez also entered, for Griezmann. And Carrasco.

And then Joao Félix to complete the remodeling of Atlético for the final half hour, just as Marcelino changed his attack -Nico Williams and Villalibre for Iñaki Williams and Raúl García-, in the tense calm in which the meeting was moving, pending some detail, of some dribbling, of some shot that broke with the monotony, like the one that Marcos Llorente threw at the post, after Unai Simón brushed against it.

But everything suddenly changed. In a foul on Joao Félix, who fought to get out of Unai Vencedor’s grasp, referee Gil Manzano showed the Portuguese attacker the yellow card, who responded with a gesture that prompted the next warning. Expelled. It was minute 77, with 0-0, with everything to be decided …

Perhaps the first card was exaggerated, the second was a nonsense by Joao Félix, reckless in the race against time in which the duel was already, neither for one side nor the other, the duel already dirty, with more tumbles, simulations and fouls than football , with the referee at the center of it all, with the scoreboard immobile tie, still with an unbeatable chance for Villalibre who wasted away and with the final whistle when Carrasco was left before Unai Simón.

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