Saturday, August 18, 2018

Getafe 0 Atletico Madrid 1: Koke strike settles ill-tempered clash

SoccerNews in La Liga 12 May 2018

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Atletico Madrid all but secured second place in LaLiga with a 1-0 win over Getafe in a combative clash at Coliseum Alfonso Perez.

Koke’s early strike settled the contest and effectively made certain that Atletico cannot be caught by third-place Real Madrid in the table, with Jan Oblak making a crucial second-half penalty save to preserve the win.

Getafe’s defeat, combined with Sevilla’s draw with Real Betis in the derby, means Jose Bordalas’ side now cannot finish in the top seven and earn a Europa League place.

Diego Simeone surprisingly named a full-strength starting line-up for the game, despite having the Europa League final just four days away, but Atleti made the most of some early dominance through a fine Koke finish.

Chances were otherwise limited in a fiercely-fought contest, although Faycal Fajr, who was lucky not to be sent off in the first half for a crude challenge, saw a spot-kick brilliantly kept out by Oblak.

Diego Costa, Antoine Griezmann and Koke were all wisely taken off in the second half to spare them any injury worries ahead of the trip to Lyon, where Atletico will look to end their season on a high against Marseille.

Atleti wasted little time in taking control of their Madrid neighbours, as Koke collected Griezmann’s pass to rifle home across Vicente Guaita’s goal to secure the lead eight minutes in.

Costa, without a LaLiga goal since February, shot straight at Guaita when through one-on-one but was spared his blushes by the offside flag, before Griezmann nearly caught out the Getafe keeper with a looping free-kick.

The half ended in scrappy fashion and there were concerns for Atleti when Juanfran required treatment to his foot after a poor challenge from Fajr, while Gabi was lucky to escape at least a booking for a lunge on Loic Remy.

Ex-Arsenal man Mathieu Flamini was another to benefit from the leniency of referee Javier Alberola Rojas, receiving only a booking for scything down Filipe Luis from behind, as tempers on the pitch remained frayed in the second half.

Simeone promptly took off Griezmann and Costa for Fernando Torres and Kevin Gamiero, his first-choice strikers having survived just over an hour of a bruising encounter.

Getafe were given the chance to snatch a point when Angel Rodriguez went to ground under minimal contact from Diego Godin, but Oblak proved to be Atleti’s hero, leaping low to his right to tip away Fajr’s effort from 12 yards.

Torres blasted a volley high and wide from a good position and Gameiro was denied by Guaita, before Oblak tipped over a looping header from Angel in the 90th minute, as Atletico survived the closing stages to move within a point of claiming their highest finish in LaLiga since they won the title in 2013-14.

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