Atletico Madrid 3-2 Athletic Bilbao: Report, Ratings and Reactions as Atleti Snatch Last-Gasp Win


​Atletico Madrid made it nine league games without defeat on Saturday night, as a late Diego Godin goal secured all three points for Diego Simeone’s side.

The home team started the stronger of the two sides as they tested Bilbao’s rearguard with an abundance of crosses. However, after surviving the early Atleti onslaught, the away side grew into the game, enjoying prolonged spells of possession in dangerous areas.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-ATLETICO-ATHLETIC

Bilbao were rewarded for their defensive efforts in the 36th minute after Mikel San Jose’s shot was tipped onto the upright by Jan Oblak, Inaki Williams tapping in the rebound. The goal was just the second league scored by an away team at the Wanda Metropolitano this season.

The second half began as the first ended, with neither side really taking the game to the other. It came very much out of the blue, then, when Thomas Partey drilled the ball home from all of 25 yards to draw his side level with their first shot on target.

But the away side refused to sit back following Atleti’s goal and instead responded in the best way possible three minutes later when Inaki Williams latched onto a Muniain through ball, out-muscled Godin and slotted the ball past the Slovenian keeper.

But ultimately, all of Bilbao’s hard work was undone with two late Atleti headers which saw the home side rob all three points from an unfortunate Bilbao side – Godin heading home in injury time when playing as a largely immobile makeshift striker thanks to injury.

Atletico Madrid v Athletic de Bilbao - La Liga Santander

Atletico Madrid

Key talking point

For all their early dominance, Atleti were unable to cultivate any meaningful chances in a first half of very few. For all of the immense talent in their ranks, Atletico produced a very average performance and in truth were very fortunate to get all three points. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Oblak (7), Arias (7), Godin (6), Montero (8), Luis (6), Correa (7), Partey (9*), Rodrigo (8), Saul (5), Griezmann (7), Costa (5)

Subs: Adan, Juanfran, Gelson (5), Vitolo (6), Moya, Joaquin, Kalinic (5)


Star Man

Atletico Madrid v Athletic de Bilbao - La Liga Santander

The Ghanaian was one of very few Atleti players who stood out in the game. He did everything Simeone would have asked of his midfield anchor, breaking up the play and starting attacks very effectively. Partey was also the man who gave his side a lifeline with a 25-yard strike with his side 1-0 down at the time.


Worst Player

Club Atletico de Madrid v Athletic Club - La Liga

Bilbao did an excellent job in starving the Spaniard of supply as he cut a frustrated figure in the first half – so much so that Diego Simeone hooked Costa at half time following a dire performance.

Costa hasn’t scored in the league this season and, on this performance, it is clear to see why. He offered very little in the way of movement off of the ball and was slow to react to the one chance he had of scoring in the game.


Looking Ahead

​If Atletico are going to compete for a top four place this season, their performances will have to drastically improve. It has to be noted that they are short of three centre-backs who would normally be in consideration for a starting spot though, and they did well to largely cope without them – especially with Godin carrying an injury too.

A usually very stubborn and well organised Atletico team were exposed by a side who went into the game placed 17th in La Liga. Simeone also needs to find a way to get his strikers firing, in particular Diego Costa who has a proven record of scoring at the very top level.


Athletic Bilbao

Key Talking Point

Bilbao’s performance at the Wanda Metropolitano mimicked that of a side in the top four. They were organised and composed in possession, with Atletico only managing to breach them with a 25-yard thunderbolt and two set pieces.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Herrerin (6), de Marcos (7), Nunez (9*), Martinez (8), Balenziaga (8), Benat (7), San Jose (6), Munain (6), Susaeta (7), Williams (8), Berchiche (7).

Subs: Rico, Aduriz, Capa (5), Garcia (7), Lopez, Unai, Nolaskoain (6).


Star Man

Atletico Madrid v Athletic de Bilbao - La Liga Santander

Unai Nunez put in an outstanding performance against Atletico and epitomised everything that was good about the visitors’ showing. He choked Griezmann of any space or time on the ball and was very effective when going forward. His best moment was a marauding run that concluded with him teeing up Inaki Williams, who couldn’t capitalise on the opportunity.


Worst Player

Club Atletico de Madrid v Athletic Club - La Liga

Iker Muniain put in a very poor display against Atleti on Satuday night. He was regularly caught in possession and was very indecisive going forward. His one moment of quality came when he played Williams in for the second goal, however either side of his assist Muniain really contributed very little to the Bilbao team who put an an immense performance overall.


Looking Ahead

The final score was incredibly cruel on Bilbao, who outperformed their adversaries on the night. However, they now have to turn these great performances into points which they have struggled to do thus far this season. 


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