With more football than Villarreal, Atlético reached the tie at the last gasp. He was superior, he created chances to win, his defensive errors condemned him and he found an own goal from Mandi in 95 that balanced the bad luck that seemed to condemn him to defeat in a fast-paced match from the start.
Simeone formed for the first time with the eleven guy who won the championship. With Trippier and Carrasco escorting the three centrals, Koke in command, Lemar and Llorente in the interior and Correa and Luis Suárez as the spearhead. And the team seemed to be pushed by the hierarchy of feeling like a champion. Very sure of each movement to abort the exit of the ball from Villarreal, which he reduced to nothing in the first half. After touching the ball for a minute and a half after kick-off, Emery’s team was hit by the energy with which the rojiblancos were deployed. Quite by Quite, Simeone’s footballers were boxing in Villarreal, determined to start playing from behind without finding either Capoué’s ground-breaking stride or Trigueros’ distribution to connect with Gerard Moreno and Dia. Emery’s team could not test the speed of the French forward, one of his big bets in the market. Neither did Pino and Estupiñán weigh on the wings, resigned to completing a defense of five or even six in the face of Atlético’s offensive barrage.
Koke was the accelerator of the dizzying circulations that stretched between Carrasco and Lemar. After a battery of lateral centers, it was the French who uncorked the real fire. He started a slalom in the center of the field, launched Trippier into the race and reached the area to land a shot that rejected the post. The stands, who could not see his improvement live last year, gave himself up to the details of the Frenchman. To Carrasco, Capoué took a ball under the sticks after Luis Suárez sat down Rulli and gave in to Correa, who did not see the clear shot and decided to give the pass back to the Belgian.
Emboldened, without giving Villarreal respite, the charge of Atlético was able to realize Trippier. Again a full-blown transition between Koke, Carrasco and Lemar pierced the band of Yeremy Pino and Foyth. The temperate center of the Frenchman was headed by the English side at the far post. Mandi’s leg avoided the goal at the limit of intermission. The fans fired their team on their feet for the game played. For the first time, the stands watched the makeings of the champion live.
Belt Spur Hat
Atlético did not lose a revolution in their exit to the second act. Bossy, he pigeonholed Villarreal again. Correa, with a spur hat on Estupiñán in the area, to which he sewed a right hand, could sign one of the goals of the season if Mandi had not stretched his leg. Undeniable dominators, Simeone’s footballers hit a hard blow on the only occasion that Pino really won the band. His center back was solved by Trigueros with a blow overhead that brushed Oblak’s fist. A shot on goal, a goal. A generous revenue for what Emery’s team had taught.
Atlético got up quickly from the blow. He rebuilt himself with a play that describes him. Llorente pushed for a throw-in near the baseline, stole, handed the ball to Correa and the latter to Suárez so that he could hole out at will. With the tie, Simeone maneuvered with the changes so that the match did not break. He did not want more transitions like that of the conceded goal and sat Carrasco and Suárez to give entry to Saúl and De Paul. The movement was canceled by a blunder by Giménez when he tried to control a long ball that belonged to Savic with his chest. The error was caught by Yeremy Pino and gave the goal to Danjuma.
Atlético also recovered from that second blow. He insisted, already with Cunha in the area, his recent hiring. On the last play, Mandi deflected a long pass from Saúl to his goal that caught Rulli on the wrong foot.
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