Atleti reach the final 32 of the UEFA CUP.
Abbiati; Antonio López; Pablo; Eller, Pernia; Simão (Maxi 67′); Motta; Cleber (Maniche 73′); Luis; Agüero; Forlán (Raúl García 72′).
UNUSED SUBS: Falcón; Reyes; Mista; Perea
The good news is that Perea, recovered from his injury, but still not quite ready to start, was able to sit this one out. I suspect he’ll be in the starting 11 against Granada for the Copa del Rey. Come to think of it, I suspect Mista will also start in that away leg to Granada.
21′ Simão (assist by Agüero) CLICK HERE TO SEE IT.
62′ Agüero (assist by Motta) CLICK HERE TO SEE IT.
Both goals are brilliant. Simão is pure class– it continues to boggle my mind that cocky, immature Reyes has been chosen over him for Liga games recently. Here’s hoping that Simão returns to the starting 11 on a regular basis. He’s too good a player to be benched.
I was able to watch the entire first half before I had to step out.
I have to say that despite the obvious shortcomings of certain players, overall, the defence has been looking fairly good. Yes, I never thought I’d say this, but they have improved quite a bit & should be commended for it. That said, here’s hoping that they continue on improving.
Motta has been effective since his return from injury; he controls & commands the midfield so well– in addition to creating opportunities for our strikers when given an opportunity. If he remains fit, he will be an immense part of our campaign. For all of you who have watched him in action recently, you know what I mean.
Simão on Motta’s presence on the pitch (after the game):
“All of the players are very important. In the case of Motta, he’s a player that gives us a lot of tranquility ['peace of mind'] because he knows how to play the ball well.”
Yesterday, I was a bit apprehensive when I read that the Brasilian wasn’t able to finish the training session due to an aggravation in his knee. I was glad to see that he was fit enough to play a full 90.
Luis Garcia. Another player that I rate higher than Reyes. Luis had a very active 1st half– making a nuisance of himself, attacking, creating space. I thought, however, that he was a bit irregular (eg poor corners in the 1st half) and lacked that extra bit of polish. Lack of playing time can be attributed to that.
Forlán: always the silent work-horse. He can have moments where he disappears from sight– but I’m not bothered by that since he always reappears at opportune moments. If he’s not taking his own chances, he is creating chances for fellow players.
(If anything stuck out at you during the 2nd half, feel free to leave a comment.)
Aguirre after the game:
More than anything, I liked the three points. It is always difficult when they cram themselves inside the area, but it always seemed that we were comfortable. Despite the poor condition of the field, we never stopped playing our game.
So, after all is said and done, here’s how it all shapes up after this round:
Panathinaikos 9 (qualified)
Atlético 7 (qualified)
Lokomotiv Moskva 2 (disqualified)
The good news is that we qualify to the next round of action. The bad news is that we have one more game to win in order to top that table. That’ll be at home to Panathinaikos. It’s a must-win game that’ll move us to the top of the table. Why is that important? It’ll mean playing a 3rd placed UEFA team instead of a Champions League reject. I’m confident that we’ll secure the points against the Greeks.