Thursday 15 April 2021
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theguardian - 2 month ago

Atlético Madrid suffer and survive on La Liga s weekend of pressure games

Simeone went through every emotion as his stuttering side responded with a win to stay in front of rivals who smell blood“Much worse things have happened,” Gerard Piqué said and Diego Simeone knew he was right. The Atlético Madrid manager has been through it before – the worst thing in football according to one of the men who suffered it with him – and could be forgiven if he feared going through it again, a hundred horrible scenarios playing in his mind on Sunday night. He had stood there, arms wide, smile wider, laughing when João Félix added to Stefan Savic’s opener to put his team 2-0 up at Villarreal, but now tension tore at him. On the touchline at the Cerámica, a lot to lose, Simeone leapt, shouted and spat and threw his arms about, unable to settle for a second.As Sunday’s match went into the final quarter of an hour, chances seemed to arrive faster than time, and they were all for Villarreal. Every time Samu Chukwueze turned inside, Simeone’s throat tightened. With every touch for Gerard Moreno, his pulse quickened. Carlos Bacca shot and he screamed. Álex Baena smashed a post and he jumped like someone had put a banger beneath him. Jan Oblak made a superb save and he clutched at his head. He sent for reinforcements – Geoffrey Kondogbia for Luis Suárez, Lucas Torreira for Ángel Correira – and clung on. He crouched, stood, ran and pointed. He tore at his hair when Jaume Costa went close, and almost exploded when Dani Parejo was denied. He was doing his nut, basically. Continue reading...


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