Friday, January 27, 2023

Real Oviedo 0-2 Atletico Madrid: Llorente and Barrios ensure Los Colchoneros avoid Copa shock

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 Jan 2023

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Atletico Madrid secured their place in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey with little fuss as they beat Real Oviedo 2-0 at Estadio Calos Tartiere on Wednesday.

The second-tier hosts arguably had the better opportunities, particularly in the first half, but Atletico were comfortable for much of the game as they avoided an upset.

Marcos Llorente landed the decisive blow in the first half after a period of Oviedo pressure, with Antoine Griezmann – who claimed two assists in the weekend win over Elche – brilliantly setting him up.

Atletico allowed Oviedo to enjoy plenty of possession after the break, but the visitors looked even more comfortable than before and finished the hosts off through substitute Pablo Barrios late on.

Alvaro Morata fired just wide and Llorente forced Tomeu Nadal into a necessary save as Atletico began with intent, but Oviedo soon settled and created chances of their own.

Samuel Obeng was their chief threat but put an inviting Hugo Rama cross into the side-netting from close range and volleyed over 12 yards out either side of Rodrigo Tarin drilling agonisingly past Jan Oblak’s left-hand post.

Atletico capitalised in the 24th minute, Llorente getting a little lucky as his scuffed effort beat Nadal after Griezmann’s gorgeous first-time pass – a cushioned volley – released him through on goal.

Borja Baston, an Atletico academy product, came on for Oviedo at half-time and saw an early effort fly just off target.

But the game was put beyond doubt seven minutes from time as Barrios – who also scored in the previous round – collected Angel Correa’s well-weighted lay-off and finished through Nadal’s legs.

What does it mean? Atletico unspectacular but get the job done

Admittedly, it would probably be more out of the norm if Atletico were spectacular. Clearly in this game their focus was on simply getting through, not bringing the entertainment.

In fairness to them, that’s exactly what they did. While Atletico were comfortable for the majority of the match, Oviedo actually finished with more expected goals (1.45 xG to Atletico’s 1.2), which highlights the fact some of their first-half chances were real opportunities.

Nevertheless, there was generally a sense Atletico could have turned things up a notch if they needed to. That ultimately was not required, and they join Real Madrid in the next round.

Griezmann sharp again

One of the stars of the World Cup, Griezmann looked reinvigorated in Qatar and he has been pretty impressive since returning to Madrid.

His assist for Llorente’s opener was exceptional, and although that was his only key pass of the game, there was little doubt about his influence in a withdrawn role, tallying more touches (84) and passes (75) than any other Atletico player.

Correa injects energy off the bench

He may have only played 14 minutes, but Correa’s impact was significant. His two key passes – one of which was for Barrios’ goal – was more than any other Atletico player.

What’s next?

Atletico are back in LaLiga action on Sunday when they host leaders Barcelona.

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