Sports News of Thu, 21 Sep 20171
Partey, Griezmann, Correa excel as Atletico Madrid remains unbeaten in Spain
Ghana midfielder, Thomas Partey was in top form as Atletico Madrid's unbeaten start to the season continued on Wednesday night, securing three hard-earned points with a 2-1 victory away to Athletic Bilbao.
Partey played the entire duration of the game and was masterful as they coasted to the important away victory.
It looked to be a familiar tale of striking woe as the visitors missed a host of golden chances before a scandalous refereeing decision saw them concede a penalty when Filipe Luis won the ball outside the box. Jan Oblak, however, ensured justice was done and it served as the springboard for victory.
Angel Correa and substitute Yannick Carrasco netted before Atleti old boy Raul Garcia pulled one back to ensure a couple of nervy stoppage time minutes, but ultimately Los Rojiblancos hung on.
Three points at the San Mames Stadium are nothing to be sniffed at and the side created chances at will.
Despite numerous opportunities, they only took two and in the end, a penalty save was all that separated the sides -- despite Atleti's domination.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Diego Simeone picked the right side and his decision to bring on Carrasco proved inspired.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jan Oblak, 8 -- Another stellar showing. Made a smart stop low down from Garcia early on before producing a wonderful penalty stop to ensure parity at the break. A couple of important saves late on and was helpless on the goal.
DF Jose Maria Gimenez, 7 -- While not the most naturally attacking, he certainly enjoyed the licence given to him. Got forward with gusto and his added height at the back helped defend set pieces.
DF Stefan Savic, 7 -- Looks much more comfy up against a target man when dealing with high balls. Fought tooth and nail with Aritz Aduriz and more often than not came out on top in the air. Had more difficulties with the pace of sub Inaki Williams.
DF Diego Godin, 7 -- Like Savic, he relished the aerial battle, while also producing a stunning last-ditch block early on that prevented a certain goal.
DF Filipe Luis, 7 -- Was on the end of some tough treatment and eventually hobbled off with 10 to go. Hopefully it is nothing serious.
MF Koke, 8 -- Imperious in the middle of the park throughout. Was at the centre of everything Atleti did going forwards. Brilliant run and unselfish pass to set up Correa.
MF Thomas Partey, 7 -- Looking more and more comfortable in this Atleti side. Physically dominated throughout and was tireless in his running. Helped shield the back four in an exemplary fashion.
Yannick Carrasco's well-taken goal off the bench gave Atletico a 2-0 lead they would not relinquish.
MF Saul Niguez, 7 -- Not his most productive night but the little things he does for his side cannot be underestimated. Ran selflessly all night and finished doing a job on the wing late on as part of a tactical reshuffle.
MF Nicolas Gaitan, 6 -- That it was one of his best performances in Rojiblanco speaks volumes for his Atleti career thus far. Was neat and tidy, however he hit the post when clean through and really should have scored. Hooked on the hour.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 9 -- He might not have been on the scoresheet -- despite one of his two offside goals definitely looking more than on -- however did everything else. Produced a wonderful ball round the corner for Koke in the build up to the first, before laying on a delicious overhead pass to Carrasco for the Belgian to slot the second. Much more like it from the Frenchman.
FW Angel Correa, 8 -- His excellent start to the season continues. Caused numerous problems with his turn of pace in the first half and popped up in the right position at the right time to bag his third in La Liga this season in the second. Came off for Gabi as Simeone looked to shore things up.
FW Yannick Carrasco, 7 -- A much more promising half-hour cameo. Fed Griezmann for an incorrectly disallowed goal before showing excellent composure to score what turned out to be the winner.
MF Gabi, NR -- Brought on to help see the game out but lost the run of his old mate Garcia for the goal.
DF Lucas Hernandez, NR -- No nonsense, solid defending for his 10 minutes.