Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Atletico Madrid 2-2 Villarreal: Last-gasp own goal rescues the reigning LaLiga champions

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Aug 2021

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Aissa Mandi’s last-minute own goal rescued a point for Atletico Madrid in their 2-2 draw with Villarreal at the Wanda Metropolitano.

The reigning champions appeared on course for a first home defeat since February after substitute Arnaut Danjuma gave the visitors a 2-1 lead.

But Diego Simeone’s men snatched a share of the spoils in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Mandi unwittingly diverted Saul’s long ball beyond Geronimo Rulli.

Luis Suarez had earlier cancelled out Manu Trigueros’ effort as both sides maintained their unbeaten starts to the season.

Aiming to make it three wins from three, Simeone’s side carried the greater attacking threat during the first half with their opponents unable to register a shot on goal.

Despite 13 attempts themselves, the hosts could not break the deadlock.

They went close when Rulli tipped Thomas Lemar’s fierce first-time shot onto the post in the 23rd minute.

Meanwhile, Mandi twice came to the visitors’ rescue with last-gasp interventions to deny Yannick Carrasco and Kieran Trippier on his own goal-line.

Having absorbed all that pressure, Unai Emery’s men took a shock lead seven minutes after the restart with Trigueros firing home following a great run and lay-off by Yeremi Pino.

The visitors were pegged back four minutes later. Atletico robbed them of possession near the corner flag, before Correa teed up Suarez for a first-time finish to equalise.

They regained their advantage in the 74th minute. Following a lack of communication between Stefan Savic and Jose Gimenez, Pino pounced and provided the assist for Danjuma’s emphatic finish.

But the Yellow Submarine could not hold on and with virtually the last kick of the game, Mandi inadvertently turned Saul’s hopeful ball beyond Rulli.

What does it mean? A huge let-off for Atletico

Simeone’s men missed out on the chance to go top of LaLiga, but are now one of six teams to have registered seven points from their opening three games.

Villarreal remain unbeaten, but were seconds away from ending a six-match winless run against Los Rojiblancos.

Praise for Pino

Right winger Pino played a key role for Villarreal; assisting both of their goals.

Additionally, his tally of four tackles was only bettered by one of his team-mates, as was the six times that he gained possession.

Quiet Correa

He may have assisted his side’s first equaliser, but Correa generally had a quiet game.

The Argentine had a chance to become only the second Atletico player to score in their opening three matches of a season this century – after Fernando Torres in 2004-05.

However, his tallies of 49 touches and 26 passes were the fewest recorded by any Atletico player that remained on the pitch for 90 minutes.

What’s next?

Atletico’s first match after the international break sees them travel to Espanyol on September 12.

Meanwhile, after their scheduled clash with Alaves was postponed, Villarreal launch their Champions League campaign against Atalanta two days later.

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