Atletico Madrid 2-1 Deportivo Alaves: Saul & Costa strengthen grip on third

By Sports Desk June 27, 2020

Atletico Madrid took a big step towards sealing Champions League qualification as they defeated Deportivo Alaves in a 2-1 LaLiga win at Wanda Metropolitano.

After a low-key start to Saturday's contest, a Saul Niguez header just before the hour mark put the hosts in front.

Two Atleti substitutes played a part in the second as Diego Costa converted a penalty won by Marcos Llorente to wrap up what ultimately proved to be a comfortable victory for Diego Simeone's side.

Joselu scored a stoppage-time penalty for the visitors, but Atletico are now four points clear of Sevilla in fourth and have opened up a superb nine-point cushion over Getafe in fifth.

Alvaro Morata sent an early header just wide, shortly before his flick-on to fellow forward Joao Felix saw the Portugal international send an impressive acrobatic effort narrowly off target.

Jose Maria Gimenez put a free header over from 12 yards and, despite their opponents defending deeply, it was Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak who had the only first-half save to make from Aleix Vidal.

Diego Simeone brought on Costa and Llorente early in the second half as he attempted to inject life into the hosts and the latter made an instant impression, winning a free-kick down the right.

Kieran Trippier sent in a fine delivery and the onrushing Saul converted with a thumping header from six yards for his fourth goal of season, keeper Fernando Pacheco getting a hand to it but unable to make the save.

Alaves almost levelled when a powerful aerial effort from Oliver Burke flew inches wide, but Atleti soon threatened at the other end when Llorente's long-range effort forced Pacheco to parry.

Llorente then showed superb pace and skill down the right before drawing a foul from Ruben Duarte, with Costa sending Pacheco the wrong way from the spot 17 minutes from time.

Three minutes into added time, Joselu sent a fine penalty into the top corner after Koke was penalised for handball, but it was too late for the visitors to recover.


What does it mean? Atletico impressing since lockdown

Atletico took the chance to extend their advantage over Sevilla, who could only draw with Real Valladolid on Friday, and now look almost certain to claim a Champions League spot.

They have impressed since LaLiga resumed after the coronavirus-enforced break – having drawn their first game back, they have won four straight games, with only the late spot-kick denying them a fourth straight clean sheet.

Llorente lifts Atletico

Former Real Madrid midfielder Llorente changed the game when he came on, winning the free-kick and penalty that led to each goal, as well as testing Pacheco with a rasping drive.

Correa struggles to make an impact

Angel Correa only had one blocked shot and 10 completed passes to show for his 57 minutes on the pitch, though he was not the only one to blame for a sluggish Atletico start.

What's next?

Atletico needed points in this match as their next one is a huge test away to Barcelona on Tuesday. Alaves, meanwhile, are at home to Granada a day later as they bid to halt a run of three straight defeats.

Related items

  • Reggae Boyz keeper Andre Blake injured in Union's victory over Chicago Fire FC Reggae Boyz keeper Andre Blake injured in Union's victory over Chicago Fire FC

    Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Andre Blake suffered an injury during the Philadelphia Union’s 2-1 victory over Chicago Fire FC Wednesday night.

  • Tuchel slammed for creating PSG defensive chaos with Marquinhos use Tuchel slammed for creating PSG defensive chaos with Marquinhos use

    Thomas Tuchel has caused a defensive "mess" at Paris Saint-Germain by using Marquinhos in midfield, according to ex-striker Mevlut Erding.

    Brazil international Marquinhos has been deployed in midfield in recent games by PSG head coach Tuchel.

    The German has instead used midfielder Danilo Pereira, signed on loan from Porto, at the back.

    Erding, who made 109 appearances for PSG between 2009 and 2012, claimed Tuchel has made a tactical blunder with his use of the PSG skipper.

    "Marquinhos must be the leader of this team, but in defence. This is where he is the leader," Erding told L'Equipe.

    "It's a mess! In midfield, he loses his influence. I do not understand this choice of Thomas Tuchel. He could justify it before to troubleshoot, to tinker, when there was no Danilo Pereira.

    "Marquinhos will have the leadership of this team but in central defence. It is he who embodies the succession of Thiago Silva in all areas."

    PSG claimed a 2-0 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday to register their first win in the Champions League this season thanks to two goals from Everton loanee Moise Kean.

    They are top of Ligue 1 on goal difference ahead of second-placed Lille, who also have 18 points.

  • Barcelona could have scored eight goals against Juventus - Capello Barcelona could have scored eight goals against Juventus - Capello

    Barcelona were so dominant against Juventus that they could have scored eight times, according to "shocked" former Bianconeri boss Fabio Capello.

    Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi were on target as Barca ran out 2-0 winners in Wednesday's Champions League Group G clash at Allianz Stadium.

    Juve were without the self-isolating Cristiano Ronaldo once again and lost Merih Demiral to a red card six minutes before Messi doubled the visitors' advantage.

    Andrea Pirlo's men failed to register a shot on target, with Alvaro Morata having three goals correctly ruled out, while a previously out-of-sorts Barca tested Wojciech Szczesny four times.

    And Capello believes Juventus got off the hook lightly in the battle between two European superpowers, claiming that his old side were too ponderous when in possession.

    "Juventus suffered a lot against a Barcelona in crisis," Capello told Sky Sport Italia. "I was struck by the difference between a team under construction that also lost the Clasico and one at the top in Italy.

    "I was shocked by the difference in intensity and play. Barcelona really impressed me - they could have scored eight goals instead of two.

    "I saw an aggressive team and a lot of dynamism. Messi also contributed a lot."

    Capello felt Juve failed to make full use of Federico Chiesa on the left-hand side, instead looking to play through Paulo Dybala down the middle.

    Chiesa had 38 touches of the ball and completed 14 passes, whereas Dybala - who also played the full 90 minutes - had 55 touches and completed 37 successful passes.

    "Chiesa was often free in midfield but all the bets were always concentrated on Dybala and his part of the pitch," Capello said.

    "It was therefore not possible to open the game and Barcelona had a chance to recover the ball quickly. There was another speed and this makes me doubt what we have in Italy.

    "It was all of Juve that lacked speed, they were always pressed and anticipated."

    Barcelona's victory makes them just the third Spanish team to win a Champions League away game against Juventus after Real Madrid (April 2018) and Deportivo La Coruna (March 2004).

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.