Atletico Madrid is coming back! A header from Mexico's Hector Herrera allowed the "Colchoneros", a time led 2-0, to neutralize Juventus (2-2) Wednesday for the first day of the Champions League, returning back to back the two favorites of group D .
Six months after the Torino's stunning victory against the Madrilenians in the round of 16 (0-2, 3-0), the Italian champion has thought he will once again take the lead over Spain's runner-up . His weapons? An iron defense and a real offensive realism on two cons, concluded by Juan Cuadrado a missile in the skylight (48th) and by the amazing Blaise Matuidi a head at close range (65th).
But in front of his public, Atlético continued to believe it with the reduction of the score of Stefan Savic of the head on set kick (70e), one of the persistent forces of this team in spite of the deep renewal of the workforce in the offseason. And with a whim on the umpteenth corner, Herrera, out of the bench, snatched a draw for the team of Diego Simeone (90).
A logical result for a closed and closed match, which gives the two teams the chance to run for first place in the pool before challenging Lokomotiv Moscow and Bayer Leverkusen respectively in two weeks.
- Felix and Ronaldo discreet -
At the Metropolitano stadium, we were waiting for a duel between the Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo and his young compatriot Joao Felix, Atlético's flagship rookie in the offseason. But between two of the best defenses in Europe, it was not the party of the attackers: Juve was content to proceed against, and Atlético used and abused centers.
Caught in the grip of the Italian defense, the young Joao Felix struggled to exist, except when he left alone in space, resisting five defenders around him to send a shot at the end of the race diverted with difficulty by the goalkeeper (10th). He also placed a header at close range (13th), again stopped by the goalkeeper.
It was too little to animate the meeting, like his glorious elder Cristiano Ronaldo, muzzled throughout the meeting.
Constantly whistled by the public of Atlético for his comeback in Madrid, the former player of Real touched only one ball in the opposing area in the first period. Symbol of his meager balance sheet, he only sent a flickering strike at 25 meters (22nd) and a closed-angle head (40th).
- Untiring Matuidi -
Faced with one of his favorite victims (25 goals in 34 games), "CR7" this time did not shine, far from the triplet entered in the spring to overthrow Atletico. Moreover, he missed the match point in injury time (90th +4), his shot touching the opposite amount
Despite his discretion, Juventus did not need him to be effective. She struck just back from the locker room, on an incursion by Colombian right winger Juan Cuadrado concluded with a shot from the left in the skylight (48th).
Then the indefatigable Frenchman Matuidi broke the nail by cutting a six-meter center (65 '), a goal that rewarded his fine activity in the midfield despite a yellow card collected very early (15th) . He could have even pushed the nail on a poorly leaning shot out by a defender (73) in front of the empty cage.
At 2-0, it was a bit harsh and Atlético did not give up. Immediate recourse to the old methods, these set pieces that have been the mark of Diego Simeone's teams since his arrival in 2011. Two heads of Savic and Herrera, one point of saved and the demonstration of a beautiful mental strength.
© 2019 AFP