Friday, January 21, 2022

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Rayo Vallecano: Correa double ends Atleti losing streak

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Jan 2022

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Angel Correa scored both goals as Atletico Madrid got back to winning ways in LaLiga with a 2-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

The reigning champions ended a four-game losing streak and leapfrogged their opponents, who failed to register a single shot on target at Wanda Metropolitano, into fourth place.

With Diego Simeone on the touchline having received authorisation from LaLiga following a recent positive COVID-19 test, Correa put the hosts ahead in the 28th minute with his first league goal since November 28.

The Argentina international doubled his tally and secured the points when he rounded off a neat move early in the second half.

Despite their poor form, Atletico were searching for a sixth successive win over Vallecano – and an eighth in the league on home soil.

The hosts squandered a great opportunity to take the lead in the 23rd minute when Luis Suarez robbed Esteban Saveljich of possession, but sent his attempted chip wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.

But they were not to be denied five minutes later. Mario Hermoso’s blocked effort from a Yannick Carrasco cutback ricocheted kindly into the path of Correa, who drilled home through the legs of Luca Zidane.

Correa doubled the advantage within eight minutes of the restart, providing the finishing touch to Renan Lodi’s cross from close range after a sweeping move by Atleti.

Thomas Lemar and Carrasco went close to increasing the margin of victory – the latter hitting the post for Simeone’s side, who have now kept five clean sheets on the spin in this fixture.

What does it mean? Relief for Simeone

It was a much-needed victory for Atletico and Simeone, who avoided becoming the first Rojiblancos manager to lose five successive league games since Ricardo Zamora in 1942.

The hosts are now unbeaten in their first LaLiga game in each of the last 13 calendar years, winning nine and drawing four.

Meanwhile, Vallecano drop out of the top four and have now won just one of their last 19 away league matches.

Angel delight

Without a goal in four league games, Correa made up for lost time with the decisive brace at Wanda Metropolitano. That came from three shots – no player managed more – all of which were on target.

The 26-year-old was constantly in the thick of things for the hosts. Indeed, no player registered more key passes (five) or was involved in more duels (20) throughout the contest.

Suarez drought continues

The former Barcelona striker has now gone nine matches without finding the net for Atletico in all competitions.

Despite recording three shots, his lack of confidence was evident as he tamely hit one decent opportunity straight at Luca Zidane, while chipping wide with only the Valladolid goalkeeper to beat.

After registering 38 touches and 25 passes – both the lowest by any of Atleti’s outfield starters – the Uruguay international was substituted in the 72nd minute.

 

Key Opta Facts:

– Atleti are unbeaten in their last 182 LaLiga games where they have scored two-or-more goals (W164 D18), all of them under Diego Simeone. Their last such defeat in the competition was in December 2011 against Espanyol (4-2 under Gregorio Manzano).

– Simeone’s side finished the first half without facing a single shot against Rayo in LaLiga for the first time since season 2003-04.

– Correa has scored 2.6 more goals than the expected in LaLiga this season, his highest expected-goals (xG) difference in the same campaign in the competition (six scored – 3.4 xG).

– Since the 2015-16 campaign, Correa has scored the first goal of the game 20 times. Only Griezmann has scored more goals in this period (32).

– Suarez has failed to score in his last seven LaLiga games, his worst run in the competition since his first seven games for Barcelona in the 2014-15 campaign.

What’s next?

Both sides are on their travels in the Copa del Rey next week. Atletico will look to build on this victory against third-tier Rayo Majadahonda on Thursday, the day after Vallecano bid to get back to winning ways when they face Mirandes of the Segunda Division.

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