Atlético Madrid vs.  Mallorca - Match Report - December 4, 2021

(EFE) – Already for the month of December, with 20 games played, Atlético de Madrid still does not transmit anything, nothing decisive and too vulnerable, again immersed in another stressful and gloomy match of which it seemed momentarily the winner with 1-0 by Matheus Cunha, before the umpteenth step backwards, so damaging this season for the rojiblanco team, tied in the 80th minute by the meritorious Mallorca with a center hanging in the area and headed by Franco Russo (1-1) and defeated in the 91st by a counterattack culminated by Takefusa Kubo to further trigger local doubts.

The last minute scoreboard highlighted a growing trend in Atlético, which, with few exceptions, moves in an insistent disappointment. Not even the results, so recurrent and incontestable whatever the path, already accompany the team led by Diego Simeone, without solutions or arguments to feel what he was, the champion of the last League, or what was sensed this course , a wannabe everything.

It was defeated by Mallorca, the winner in the League after seven games without a single win. He had merit for how he turned off Atlético, today a team without light, but also, above all, how he reacted when the partial defeat would have been an unbearable burden for many of the visitors at the Wanda Metropolitano. Then came Franco Russo’s header, then Kubo’s goal, which enlarges the injury to the roijblanco team, while Porto appears and Real Madrid, Sevilla and Granada await.

Not even the second half in Cádiz, forceful, decisive, overflowing, has reactivated Atlético. The rojiblanco team still does not say anything, beyond the rotations that Diego Simeone proposed in his team, more for what is to come (the decisive game in Porto and the visits to Real Madrid, Sevilla and Granada in the next 18 days) than what happened. Neither Luis Suárez nor Lemar, apart from Carrasco -with some slight annoyances and outside the summons-, appeared in the starting eleven.

It was Cunha’s moment, active, eager, fast, vertical and determined when he connected with the ball, but not very accurate in his shot in minute 4, on his first -and clear- occasion, and on another in 61, although scorer after; of Lodi, an unpredictable footballer today, in the constant indecision in which he lately moves on the left side; of Felipe, who is nothing like the imposing central who came; of Kondogbia, whose physique and driving still do not give Simeone everything he wants; and Correa, the most clairvoyant of all at the beginning, more like a passer than a dribbler, but at least daring.

Griezmann, so crucial now at Atlético, was barely noticed in the entire first half. Marcos Llorente was missed more in depth, higher than a right-back that falls short, scarce, for his conditions. Koke lacked prominence. They were assumed by De Paul, bordered to the left, whose mobility provided offensive solutions to Atlético, who started well, who connected a couple of shots – one from Cunha out and another from De Paul to the chest of a rival – and that, suddenly, it was diluted into nothing.

Neither in attack nor in defense nor in midfield. He neither appeared so much forward nor felt so sheltered behind, where Savic fell injured, in the 11th minute, in a long race in which he felt a tug. Then, having solved the predicament for his team, he went to the ground. He was assisted and changed immediately. It doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to play in Porto on Tuesday. A serious problem for their team, which, for the decisive European appointment in Portugal, does not have Felipe available, sanctioned, and Giménez, contractured, is in doubt. Mario Hermoso is the only center-back ready today for such a challenge. He was also his replacement.

Mallorca was already growing, which, moment by moment, centimeter by centimeter, was gaining ground against Atlético. It is true that, with a little more efficiency, he would have already gone behind on the scoreboard, either in the opportunity of Cunha or, later, if Lodi had been Luis Suárez when he found himself facing Reina, as much as he also did equal or more merits to score before the break: first with a shot by Abdon Prats, then with a right hand inside the box from Kang in Lee repelled by Oblak, then in a center kick that demanded again from the goalkeeper and in a parable from the player South Korean.

For this reason, the intermission was a relief for Atlético, a survivor at the time; perhaps the best news that the first half brought him. That there was still the second, that everything was tied and that he sensed resources to change the decreasing trend of his football, not only in this game, but in almost the entire course, because it is a matter of the collective. For more individualities you have, you generally need to be more of a team than your opponent on the field, give him more rhythm, another speed than he was playing.

At game time, Simeone introduced Lemar and Joao Félix into the equation, but by De Paul and Griezmann. Two new factors to remove the game, to alter his adversary, to relocate the match in the direction that was most favorable to him, who had not yet found it, unable to tear down the structure of Mallorca, which was holding on to his rear. He no longer appeared in the other area, but his was by then, half an hour from the end, a place that was still practically indecipherable for Atlético.

Less for Cunha and Correa. The Argentine entered it after a long pass from Koke; The Brazilian waited for the center, finished off the first badly and turned the second into a goal, from the ground, against the goalkeeper, faster than him to stretch his leg and push the 1-0 of Atlético with the plank of the boot, a treasure as it is today the team, who insisted on safeguarding such loot around their area.

Nor is this Atlético for that, which is nothing like what it was in its defense, that impenetrable wall that transformed every 1-0 into a sure victory. It is a vulnerable block, as demonstrated for the umpteenth time this season, this time against Mallorca, which was enough a free kick in the area finished off by Franco Russo in the 80th minute to tie the game and a counterattack resolved by Take Kubo, already in the 90, to finally uncover the crisis of the rojiblanco team.