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Spain: Atltico Madrid struggles and revives Villarreal

  • April 2, 2024
  • 5
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After two consecutive defeats in the league, Atlético Madrid won in pain Monday evening on the Villarreal pitch (2-1) at the end of the 30th day of La Liga thanks to a late goal from Saul Niguez.

The Spanish midfielder, who had just come on, offered his team three crucial points in the race for the Champions League, with a flat left foot, at the end of a beautiful collective movement a few minutes of the term (87th, 2-1).

A goal which allows the Colchoneros to relaunch in La Liga, nine days before the quarter-final first leg of the Champions League against Borussia Dortmund.

The Madrid club, now behind in the title race, is back in fourth place with two points ahead of Athletic Bilbao (5th), beaten on Sunday by Real Madrid (2-0), still leader.

Villarreal, which remained on three consecutive wins after its rout at Marseille (4-0) in the Europa League, recorded its first defeat in the league in two and a half months and remained stuck in the middle of the table (10th, 38 points) .

Atlético too cautious

Dominant with the return to the starting lineup of Antoine Griezmann, who returned to the club to treat his ankle during the French team’s rally, Diego Simeone’s men got off to the best start before being trapped by trying too hard to manage their advance.

Spain: Atlético Madrid struggles and revives at Villarreal before challenging Dortmund

Starting at Villarreal at the end of the 30th day of La Liga on April 1, 2024, the French striker from Atlético Madrid Antoine Griezmann was not as decisive as usual / JOSE JORDAN / AFP/Archives

The Belgian Axel Witsel opened the scoring with an uncrossed header at the near post from a corner well struck by Riquelme (9th, 1-0), before Marcos Llorente came close to the break by stumbling on the Danish goalkeeper Filip Jorgensen (17th).

Without managing to widen the gap in the first half, the Rojiblancos were surprised upon returning from the locker room by the Norwegian striker Alexander Sorloth, who brought the yellow submarine back to level with a low cross strike after a loss of ball from Griezmann (50th, 1-1).

Yet rather on the legs but without being as decisive as usual, the French striker gave way to Correa at the hour mark, in preparation for the reception of Dortmund where Atlético will need more than ever his genius.

Spain: Atlético Madrid struggles and revives at Villarreal before challenging Dortmund

Saul Niguez scored the winning goal (2-1) for Atlético Madrid at Villarreal just three minutes after coming into play on April 1, 2024 / JOSE JORDAN / AFP/Archives

Argentine coach Diego Simeone, who almost paid dearly for his defensive choices, ended up exulting after the validation of Saul Niguez’s goal by the VAR, a few seconds from the end of regulation time.

Like his counterparts at FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, “El Cholo” now has a good week ahead of him to best prepare for his European meeting.