Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and Thomas Lemar steal the show with a late flurry as Atletico Madrid secure a 2-1 win over Espanyol.
Atletico Madrid leave it late to complete an astonishing 2-1 comeback win over Espanyol on Sunday. The hard-fought victory in Catalonia helps the reigning champions stay afloat in the top end of the league table, as they look to shift their focus on the UEFA Champions League.
It was far from a perfect display from Diego Simeone’s men who were the second-best team throughout the first half. They lacked the creativity going forward, doing very little to cause any problems for the Espanyol defence. The hosts, in contrast, were looking far deadlier going forward, with Raul de Tomas’ 40th-minute goal giving them the deserved opener.
The second half saw Atletico Madrid trying to make changes to their approach as Simeone added more firepower. The move did not yield immediate result, though, to their misfortune, a goal from Thomas Lemar was ruled out around the hour mark after VAR ruled Luis Suarez offside during the build-up.
Los Colchoneros, though, did not give up and found their equaliser in the 79th minute Yannick Ferreira Carrasco. The goal gave them the ideal boost they needed to push for a winner. Unfortunately for Espanyol, a large of added time was enough for the visitors to seal a 99th-minute winner, with none other than Lemar scoring the goal.
Here, at the Hard Tackle, we will rank the Atletico Madrid players in their hard-fought victory over Espanyol this weekend.
Jan Oblak: 7.5/10
Jan Oblak had to remain alert as Espanyol caused a lot of problems going forward. He was notably forced into a save from a long-range effort of Adrian Embarba, along with a few other saves. Couldn’t have done much to keep out de Tomas’ excellent header, though he will be disappointed to have missed out on the clean sheet.
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) September 12, 2021
Stefan Savic: 5/10
Stefan Savic didn’t look like his usual self. Generally very reliable when it comes to defensive actions, the centre-back lacked confidence and communication, which even led to an early opportunity for Espanyol. Needs to improve in the upcoming Champions League game against FC Porto.
Felipe didn’t fare any better in central defence, struggling to keep the likes of de Tomas and Embarba quiet in the defensive third. However, the Brazilian was still there when required, notably making a goalline clearance in the first half, even though the move was later ruled out offside.
Mario Hermoso: 4/10
Mario Hermoso struggled to establish himself in the game, failing to keep up with Espanyol’s attacking threat. The former Real Madrid prodigy didn’t provide anything in the build-up play either, ultimately getting subbed off at half-time.
Kieran Trippier: 3/10
Kieran Trippier certainly did not have an easy outing up against Embarba, who ran rings around him at times. It greatly restricted his attacking work rate, though thankfully for Atletico, Simeone was quick to identify the weakness and effectively sub the Englishman out at half-time.
Also, our attacks need to become more varied. Right now all Espanyol are doing is forcing us out left, where they have Carrasco under lockdown. Get more of those Trippier-Llorente/Correa linkups and hopefully the introduction of RDP unlocks the middle a bit too.
— Colchoneros (@ElResurreccion) September 12, 2021
Marcos Llorente: 7/10
Marcos Llorente had a relatively slow start to the game, but he settled into the game quick well, eventually emerging as one of Atletico’s leading chance creators. The former Real Madrid man often positioned himself out wide, driving in crosses into the box and making life difficult for the opposition backline.
Koke had to feature in a more conservative role in midfield but was given a bit more breathing space after the introduction of Geoffrey Kondogbia. The club captain, nevertheless, mostly had to control the game with his passing and ball distribution. It was quite effective, especially in the second half as Atletico dominated.
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco: 8/10
Yannick Ferreiro Carrasco started the game slowly but he turned into an unstoppable force during the final twenty minutes of the proceedings. His hard-fought goal, in particular, was eye-catching, but that was not all as the Belgian international also registered the assist for Lemar’s winner, capping off an excellent display.
📊| Yannick Carrasco vs Espanyol:
▫️2 Chances Created
▫️6/8 Dribbles Completed
▫️2 Times Fouled
— Atletico Universe (@atletiuniverse) September 12, 2021
Angel Correa: 6/10
Angel Correa created a few early opportunities but it was not enough to make any substantial difference to the game. He wasn’t looking all too comfortable in the slightly holding role and it appears the addition of Antoine Griezmann may slightly alter his role in the final third, which isn’t a good sign for the Argentine.
Antoine Griezmann: 5/10
Speaking of Griezmann, the on-loan Barcelona forward had a rather stale second debut for Atletico Madrid. He was, in fact, quite anonymous for the large parts of the game, providing very little to the table. Not the start the Frenchman would have been hoping for, but he will have a lot more chances coming his way soon.
Luis Suarez: 5/10
Luis Suarez, too, endured a difficult outing up against the Espanyol defence. The Uruguayan forward struggled to carve out any opportunity for himself and instead denied Lemar a goal in the second half by touching the cross from Llorente, thereby allowing the ref to deem it offside.
Thomas Lemar: 8/10
Thomas Lemar came on for Correa at half-time and made all the difference Atletico were hoping for. The Frenchman was very influential in possession, offering the spark his side was missing for the majority of the game. He was unfortunate to have his initial goal ruled out, bu the former AS Monaco starlet ended up scoring the winner in the final minute.
THOMAS LEMAR IN THE 98TH MINUTE!! 😱 pic.twitter.com/e9NG6CC0CW
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 12, 2021
Geoffrey Kondogbia: 7/10
Geoffrey Kondogbia also had a positive impact after coming on at half-time. The midfielder added more physique in the creative department and his attempts from distance always kept Diego Lopez on his toes.
Renan Lodi: 7/10
Renan Lodi made a solid impression as well after replacing Trippier at half-time. Offered multiple forays down the flanks that were useful in giving Atletico extra firepower in the final third.
Joao Felix: 6/10
Joao Felix replaced Griezmann around the hour mark but didn’t make the desired impact. It was good to see him back in action, though, with the Portuguese international poised to start against Porto.
Matheus Cunha: 6/10
A late replacement for Suarez who fought hard for the ball, showcasing impressive determination. Still has a long way to go before he can announce himself as a key member of Simeone’s team.