A goalless draw that does not do justice to the performance put in by Atletico Madrid. Atletico dominated, had more and better chances than the Andalusians, but failed to break the deadlock. Both defences shone in a game that brought back many memories for Simeone as the Atletico coach returned to the place where he start his career on the bench in a game which finished with the same result.
MÁLAGA 0 – 0 ATLÉTICO DE MADRID
Málaga: Caballero; Jesús Gámez, Demichelis (Lugano, 62’), Weligton, Antunes; Toulalan; Joaquín (Iturra, 65’), Piazón, Isco (Seba, 72’), Portillo; & Santa Cruz.
Atlético de Madrid: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe Luis; Mario Suárez, Koke; Cristian Rodríguez (Raúl García, 66’), Diego Costa (Adrián, 61’), Arda Turan; & Falcao.
Referee: Gil Manzano. Booked Weligton (33’) & Toulalan (85’) for the home side and Juanfran (16’), Mario Suárez (37’), Diego Costa (57’) & Koke (81') for the visitors.
A big game at the Rosaleda with two evenly matched sides coming together, both looking to finish in the top for and secure a place in next seasons Champions League. Atletico Madrid were also looking to continue a fine run and extend their four point lead over Real Madrid in third place.
The game lived up to the billing with two quality sides going head to head. Atletico were solid, well organised and powerful and they did not give an inch to the opponent in the opening stages. The visitors pressed well and didn’t allow Malaga to settle in to the game.
In the Atleti goal, Courtois was rarely troubled. His first job was to save a Piazon header after a Joaquin cross and shorly after from a corner kick delivered by Joaquin, the Belgian keeper just watched it wide.
Atletico were looking more threaterning and Caballero had to be at his best, first to stop a shot from the edge area, well struck by Arda Turan, then Diego Costa came close with a shot that was just off target, before Arda grazed the post and Cristian Rodriguez was inches wide.
All times happened in an electrifying first fifteen minutes, which led to a second phase of the first half in which the ball was mostly rojiblanco, the visitors dominating possession but they failed to create many clear chances. Atletico were better than Malaga but had to be careful of the dangers of the Andalusian team.
The second half had the same pattern as the first, with a dominant Atletico Madrid, very firm and with Malaga looking to hold on. As the minutes passed, the two coaches looked to change things aroung. Simeone moved first, introducing Adrian for Diego Costa. Immediately afterwards Pellegrini changed Lugano for Demichelis, to give more freshness at the back. Then it was Joaquin who made way for Iturra and, a minute later, Raul García came on for Cristian Rodríguez and finally Isco was replaced by Seba.
The substitutions had no affect on the result of the game. Raul Garcia tried his luck from outside the area and Weligton had the best chance for the home side but it was not to be and at this stage the game seemed destined to end goalless. Simeone will be slightly disappointed not to have take the full 3 points back to Madrid but will be happy with his sides performance as they take an important step closer to sealing the champions league place ahead of next season.