Atletico Madrid 2-1 Espanyol: Late Carrasco penalty boosts Champions League hopes

By Sports Desk April 17, 2022

Yannick Carrasco scored twice, including a stoppage-time penalty, as Atletico Madrid boosted their hopes of Champions League qualification with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Espanyol on Sunday.

Diego Simeone's side succumbed 1-0 to Real Mallorca last weekend and were eliminated in Europe by Manchester City on Wednesday, before struggling again at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Atletico had to wait until the 52nd minute for substitute Carrasco to strike with their first shot on target, before Raul de Tomas levelled with a free-kick following Geoffrey Kondogbia's dismissal.

However, a late handball decision against De Tomas offered Atletico a penalty, which Carrasco converted in the 10th added minute to send Simeone's side level on points, at least briefly, with Sevilla and Barcelona, and three clear of fifth-placed Real Betis.

Atletico had defeated Espanyol in seven of their last nine home league games, but it was Vicente Moreno's visitors who started the brighter.

Leandro Cabrera's header from Darder's corner forced a sharp Jan Oblak stop just seven minutes in, while Joao Felix skewed over on the counter-attack at the other end.

Simeone responded by sending on Antoine Griezmann, Matheus Cunha and Carrasco at half-time and Atletico's fortunes soon changed.

Oblak reacted quickly to deny Darder and that save proved vital a minute later when Cunha and Carrasco combined on a clinical break.

Cunha raced towards the Espanyol goal before laying an inch-perfect pass for Carrasco to cut in and squeeze a right-footed strike under Diego Lopez to open the scoring.

Oblak then thwarted a low De Tomas volley but, after Kondogbia was shown a second yellow for handball, the Espanyol striker's resulting free-kick squirmed under the Atletico goalkeeper.

Carrasco snatched victory after De Tomas was adjudged to have handled an Atleti corner, allowing the home forward to fire into the bottom-left corner from 12 yards.

Related items

  • Liverpool 1-1 Crystal Palace: Nunez sees red as Diaz rescues point with wonder strike Liverpool 1-1 Crystal Palace: Nunez sees red as Diaz rescues point with wonder strike

    It was a mixed night for Liverpool's South Americans as Darwin Nunez was sent off on his home debut, but Luis Diaz scored a wonder goal to earn a point for the 10-man hosts in a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.

    A frustrating night for Jurgen Klopp's team appeared to be heading for defeat after Wilfried Zaha's first-half opener and Nunez's dismissal just before the hour.

    Diaz's superb individual effort got his team level, though, before last season's Premier League runners-up set about trying to find a winner but to no avail.

    It represents another early season blow to Liverpool's hopes of running champions Manchester City close again in the title race, already four points behind their rivals, but as with their opening draw against Fulham, it may feel like a point gained for Klopp in the circumstances.

    Liverpool started brightly as they tried to find an early opener, with Nunez mishitting a volley at the far post, while Mohamed Salah also went close to scoring from Trent Alexander-Arnold's pull back, but the Egyptian’s side-footed attempt whizzed just wide of the near post.

    After absorbing so much at the other end, it was Palace who took the lead in the 33rd minute when Eberechi Eze got away from Fabinho before playing Zaha in on goal, with the Ivory Coast international placing his shot past Alisson into the bottom-right corner.

    Liverpool thought they were level just before the break as Harvey Elliott's chip found Nunez down the left side of the penalty area, but his deflected shot came back off the post.

    Things went from bad to worse for Nunez as the Uruguayan reacted to being shoved by Joachim Andersen by pushing his head into the Dane, with referee Paul Tierney immediately producing a red card for the Liverpool striker.

    However, the Anfield atmosphere soon improved as Diaz dribbled inside several Palace defenders before unleashing a rocket of a shot past Vicente Guaita's despairing dive to his left.

    The hosts tried to find a winner despite having fewer players, though Palace could also have won it when Zaha missed a great chance at the far post, but both were forced to settle for a point.

  • Atletico boss Simeone lauds Felix after three assists, but admits he is unsure about Morata's future Atletico boss Simeone lauds Felix after three assists, but admits he is unsure about Morata's future

    Diego Simeone says "things come naturally" to Joao Felix after he starred in Atletico Madrid's season opener win over Getafe, though the Argentine admitted that Alvaro Morata's future is out of his hands.

    The duo were the star performers for the Rojiblancos as they helped steer their side to a 3-0 win on Monday evening, with the former bagging all three assists and the latter netting a brace.

    It marked an impressive return to the field in Atletico colours for both, with Felix having spent the end of last season sidelined through injury, and Morata spending the prior two campaigns on loan at Juventus.

    Felix, in particular, delivered an assured performance that showcased his growth for Simeone, who said the Portuguese star's talent helps his game speak for itself.

    "He looks more mature, stronger," he stated. "He showed last season until he had to leave due to injury. He is growing, [he] shows maturity, [he] sees more than the others.

    "You don't have to force anything. Things come naturally and he has worked to get to this point. He has talent, he has a goal, and hopefully he can support everything he says here on the field."

    Morata famously signed for Atletico following a loan move from Chelsea in 2020, only to promptly be loaned back out to former club Juventus for the subsequent two seasons.

    The subject of his future remains up in the air beyond the end of the transfer window, and Simeone admitted he does not know what the next steps will be for the Spanish international, though he hopes for the star to remain.

    "I am not the owner of the club, I am the coach," he added. "He is doing very well, working in an extraordinary way, and we hope that Morata will continue with us.

    "I think that all footballers have to have confidence to do important things. He came with humility, desire to work, without demanding anything, striving to get to this shape and that is what we want to see."

  • Juventus 3-0 Sassuolo: Di Maria and Vlahovic inspire comfortable victory Juventus 3-0 Sassuolo: Di Maria and Vlahovic inspire comfortable victory

    Dusan Vlahovic struck a brace to help Juventus to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Sassuolo in the opening match of their Serie A campaign on Monday.

    The Serbian forward struck five minutes either side of the interval to put the Bianconeri in control after Angel Di Maria marked his Juve debut with a maiden goal at the Allianz Stadium.

    Massimiliano Allegri's side were not at their best in possession but made their chances count, with their attacking contingent laying down a marker to their rivals.

    A shaky start from the hosts provided Sassuolo with encouragement and called Mattia Perin, in for the injured Wojciech Szczesny, into action to deny Gregoire Defrel on two occasions.

    Juventus soon found some rhythm and made the breakthrough when Di Maria met Alex Sandro's cross by bouncing a volleyed effort over the head of Andrea Consigli.

    Five minutes before the break, Vlahovic bullied Gian Marco Ferrari to win the hosts a penalty and stepped-up to confidently smash home from the spot to open his account for the season.

    Sassuolo were the architects of their own downfall following the restart, Kaan Ayhan giving the ball away to Di Maria who fed in Vlahovic to double his tally and continue in the vein that saw him star last term.

    Juventus took their foot off the gas in the remainder of the half to ease out a win, with Filip Kostic introduced for the final half hour in a comfortable debut environment.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.