Stefan Savic’s late equaliser failed to save Atletico Madrid as they slumped to a costly 2-1 defeat to Athletic Bilbao at San Mames on Sunday.
Atletico Madrid’s hopes of retaining their lead at the top suffered a massive blow as they stumbled to a 2-1 defeat to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday. It was a disappointing result for the league leaders, who can now be displaced from the top, should Barcelona win their remaining one game at hand.
It was not a good performance at all by Diego Simeone’s men, who endured the worst possible start to the game when Alex Berenguer netted the opener for Bilbao inside the opening ten minutes. The goal kept Atletico on the backfoot right from the beginning, forcing them to chase the game, and although they did well to create chances, they had to settle for a 0-1 scoreline at half-time.
Los Colchoneros improved further after the restart, but were unable to find themselves an opening. In fact, they struggled to get a single shot on target up until the moment Stefan Savic’s header found the back of the net for the equaliser, in the 77th minute of the game.
It sparked the hopes of a late comeback for Atletico, but some shoddy defensive from set-pieces saw them concede another in the 86th minute – this time through Inigo Martinez, whose goal was enough to inflict a costly defeat for the league leaders. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Atletico Madrid players in their disappointing performance against Athletic Bilbao this past weekend.
Jan Oblak: 6/10
Jan Oblak was caught by surprise when a deflected effort from the far side found Berenguer, whose header comfortably beat the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper. The Slovenian international could not have done anything to save the second goal either, as it was a bullet header from Martinez, whose fortunes were helped by some poor defensive support from his teammates.
Kieran Trippier: 6/10
It was not the best of performances from Kieran Trippier, who did make useful runs going forward but lacked the penetration in his crosses. As a result, the full-back was largely ineffective in the wide role and was eventually subbed off around the hour mark as Simeone brought on a fully-fledged centre-forward.
Stefan Savic: 7/10
Savic emerged as an unlikely hero for Atletico Madrid when he netted the equaliser with a smart header in the late stages of the game. Defensively, however, the centre-back was far from impressive and should have done much better to remain more disciplined in defending the set-pieces, although he did make a bunch of blocks and interceptions and neutralised potential attacking threats.
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Felipe was perhaps the bigger culprit, as far as Atletico Madrid’s defending from set-pieces were concerned. Filling in for Jose Gimenez, the Brazilian should have done a much better job, particularly in the second set-piece, where he completely lost track of Martinez. Simply not good enough performance at this stage of the campaign.
Renan Lodi: 6/10
Simeone’s decision to once again start Renan Lodi ahead of Mario Hermoso did not bear any fruit this time around, as the left-back had problems offering the penetration going forward. Much like Trippier, he was ineffective going forward and was even replaced by Hermoso as Los Rojiblancos returned to a three-man backline.
Koke had a disappointing game in the middle of the park. The Spanish international did not offer any real penetration despite enjoying a fair amount of possession and there was an overall lack of determination that eventually led to Atletico’s demise in this crucial fixture against Bilbao.
Hector Herrera: 6.5/10
Hector Herrera did not fare any better in midfield, although the former Porto star was rather impressive in recycling possession and distributing the ball. Unfortunately, it was never going to be enough as Simeone was eventually forced to take him off around the hour mark, in favour of a more attacking-minded Thomas Lemar.
Saul Niguez: 6/10
Saul Niguez offered the flair and trickery, at times, in the final third, but it was never going to trouble an Athletic Bilbao side that remained very composed and resolute. Simeone hooked him off around the hour mark, replacing him with an out and out forward in Luis Suarez, in search of the equaliser.
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco: 7/10
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco was responsible for producing the cross that led to Savic’s equaliser. Needless to say, the Belgian was one of the few bright sparks in an otherwise dire attacking performance from Atletico Madrid, with the attacker offering a lot of dynamism and trickery on the flanks, to keep the defence occupied. Could not find the second goal, though.
Marcos Llorente: 6.5/10
Marcos Llorente had a poor game by his standards, but he was still an asset due to his versatility that allowed Simeone to switch to multiple systems effortlessly during the course of the game. Offensively, it was not his day as the Spaniard was marshaled quite well by Marcelino’s well-oiled defensive unit.
Angel Correa: 6/10
Angel Correa struggled to continue his good run of form, looking rather ineffective in front of goal against Bilbao. The Argentine did look good in duels but he simply needs to provide more going forward and needs to appear much more composed in putting away his chances, as none of his three efforts on goal were on target.
Luis Suarez: 6/10
Luis Suarez was introduced around the hour mark, but the former Barcelona man simply could not find that scoring opportunity to put his team back into the game.
Joao Felix: 6/10
Joao Felix marked his return to the pitch in the 59th minute when he replaced Trippier, in an attacking substitution from Simeone. He could not repay the manager’s faith, though, producing a rather timid display.
Thomas Lemar: 6.5/10
Thomas Lemar replaced Herrera around the hour mark, looking a bit more energetic and offering some useful forward balls. Unfortunately, it was not enough to find the back of the net.
Lucas Torreira: 5/10
Lucas Torreira looked clueless after coming on for Correa around the 65th minute mark.
Mario Hermoso: N/A
A late replacement for Lodi. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.