Mario Hermoso was 10-man Atletico Madrid’s hero as the defender scored a dramatic late winner in Saturday’s chaotic 4-3 derby win over Getafe.
A manic match looked to be petering out until Hermoso – who attracted much criticism for his performance against Barcelona last week – showed Atletico’s character despite being down to 10 men.
An astonishing first half saw Atletico charge into a 2-0 lead through Angel Correa and Matheus Cunha after Luis Suarez’s early penalty miss, only for Getafe to turn the game on its head thanks to Borja Mayoral’s poacher’s effort and a pair of Enes Unal spot-kicks.
Correa made it 3-3 just before the interval, but the hosts suffered another blow in the second half as Felipe was shown a straight red for a wild challenge.
At that point a draw looked a reasonable result for Atletico, but substitute Hermoso popped up late on to spark bedlam at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Atletico had looked especially sharp early on and might have led in the ninth minute, but Suarez’s penalty was saved by David Soria, who had felled the forward.
Soria was beaten soon after, though, Correa arriving late to prod in after Djene Dakonam flicked the ball on while being nudged by Cunha.
Cunha scored a tap-in of his own with 27 minutes on the clock as Atletico appeared to be cruising, but Getafe then incredibly fought back.
First, Mayoral diverted Jakub Jankto’s wayward shot into the net, before Unal emphatically converted two penalties after Cunha and Thomas Lemar were each penalised for handball.
Correa ensured Atletico were level at the break, however, nodding in Lemar’s teasing cross at the back post.
Atletico looked in for an even tougher final 30 minutes when Felipe was dismissed just shy of the hour – the defender beaten to the ball by Mauro Arambarri after Stefan Savic’s heavy touch and catching his opponent with a high boot.
But against the odds, Atletico stole a late victory. Joao Felix headed Rodrigo De Paul’s deep free-kick back across goal and Hermoso acrobatically found the net at the second time of asking.
What does it mean? Victory does little to distract from Atletico’s defensive frailties
For the moment, all Atletico will care about is the fact they got the win and moved back up to fourth – a point ahead of Barcelona, who play Espanyol on Sunday – but when the dust settles there will be lots of attention given to their defence again.
This was the sixth game in succession in which Atletico have conceded two or more goals. The three concessions here took their seasonal tally to 33 in LaLiga – their previous worst for a full season under Simeone was 31 in 2012-13. They still have 15 games left.
Prior to this goalfest, Getafe had not scored away against Atletico since May 2010, coincidentally when their coach Quique Sanchez Flores was in charge of Los Colchoneros.
Correa efficient once again
You could argue Correa is rather underappreciated – he may not have even started this game had Yannick Carrasco been available. But the Argentina international collected his Player of the Month award for January before this game, and he showed why that was no fluke with a couple of goals from as many shots.
Even before the red card, Felipe was hardly imperious the back, only winning three of his eight duels. He might blame Savic for his part in the sending off incident, but his challenge on Arambarri was utterly reckless.
Atletico are at home again on Wednesday as they host Levante.
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