It’s only the preseason and it would be absurd to throw the bells on the fly, but this Atlético looks good, especially if it resolves sooner rather than later the mess it still has with the ups and downs and depends above all on finding a destination for the wayward Joao Felix. If in their first game in Seoul they lost in the end to a team of South Koreans, this Sunday they won in all fairness none other than Manchester City, the current European champion, winner of a historic treble and more shot, since on August 6 The Community Shield title is already at stake against Arsenal and had just beaten Bayern Munich.
It was a competitive, balanced duel, which the colchoneros resolved in the second half, after the classic carousel of changes that hurt Guardiola’s team more on this occasion. Memphis and Carrasco, with two shots from outside the area, sealed the goals of a prestigious victory that does not add points or is worth playoffs, but it does raise self-esteem, confidence and the conviction that one is working in the right way.
The appointment opened three quarters of an hour late due to a downpour in Seoul, but it was not very friendly. And it is that these two teams ended up with tanganas the last time they faced each other, two years ago in a Champions League match with a suffered victory for the ‘citizens’. That there would be a battle was evidenced by Azpilicueta and Grealish from the first minute. Sticky the Navarrese, who soon received the punishment of a yellow, and gesticulating and protesting the English.
Guardiola and Simeone staged two eleven that could well be headlines. A declaration of intentions. Mahrez and Gündogan are no longer in the English, in Saudi Arabia and in Barça respectively, and in Madrid there was something new. Oblak recovered his place under the sticks after a long injury due to cervical problems and Soyuncu, notable throughout the game, acted as center back instead of Savic, with Witsel and Hermoso in the center and Azpilicueta and Samuel Lino in the lanes.
As expected, a lot of possession from City, which with its classic high pressing made it difficult for Atlético to come out from behind. However, this greater control did not translate into great occasions during the first act, beyond some shots by Halaand and Bernando Silva saved by the Slovenian goalkeeper.
It was even the mattresses who were able to get ahead in a couple of transitions, very well carried out by Samu Lino. The player who worked on loan at Valencia last year is loving Cholo. He comes out as a left winger in the absence of Reinildo and Carrasco, but he moves well in all areas and is hardworking and daring, at times unbalancing. Two great passes from the Brazilian did not know how to turn them into a goal, neither Morata, poorly outlined, nor Lemar, very tired.
The substitutes ask for passage
That it was not a mere formality was made clear when we saw that only the starting goalkeepers stayed in the dugout after the break. Soon, Ortega excelled to deflect a point-blank header from Lino. The mattresses claimed a goal, but there was no VAR. In the other area, a tremendous shot from Walker crashed into Gbric’s crossbar, huge shortly after to disrupt a one-on-one with Julián Álvarez.
With half an hour to go, Pep and Cholo decided to almost completely modify their teams and act with two alternative elevens. Although it is indisputable that City has much more depth on the bench, Atlético grew. Correa and Barrios warned before Memphis took advantage of a drop from the Argentine to open the game with a huge strike.
Shortly after, the former Barça player wasted a much clearer chance than the goal to score the second, but he launched against the doll after a manual counterattack. With City quite disoriented and chaotic, it was Yannick Carrasco who increased the difference. The Belgian stewed it and the Belgian ate it with a right hand. He closed the gap on Rúben Dias at the exit of a corner, executed by Sergi Gómez, but the game was already dying. Good image of Atlético, but a lot of restraint.
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