It was homework day. The day you couldn't fail. It's not usually a bad day for Atletico and not for their century-old coach either. The Red & Whites perform better against big challenges than they do against Qarabags and Club Brugge. On top of that, half an hour earlier they had seen Lazio pass them on the right. So the Red & Whites accepted the favours of the Dutch to get into the round of 1. [Narration and Statistics, 3-<>]

And Feyenoord came out to the death. It was the end of him. One loss and they were out. Minteh had the first chances, a messy Gambian footballer with a lot of one-on-ones, but between Oblak and Hermoso they frustrated them. In the second, Gimenez, the Mexican, was behind the Madrid centre-back with the cane.

It was a game of putting yourself in the shop window. The Mexican missed the first matches of this group stage due to a suspension carried over from last season. Wanted by quite a few big teams, Atletico among them, Giménez had to live up to expectations in Europe, after scoring 18 goals in 15 games, two of them in the Champions League. But he didn't, or not for his team.

The one who had them very clear was his red-and-white counterpart. The most obvious was a one-on-one after a beautiful offload from Griezmann with a backheel to face Bijlow with a lot of ground in front of him. The field was long for him. When he arrived, he lacked oxygen to think and realize that the goalkeeper was already on the ground, which is where the shot stopped. Morata begins to lose the shine that has accompanied him since the beginning of this season and ended up being replaced by Memphis.

There was no time to complain, because Atletico's first goal came just two minutes later. After a lateral free-kick, the rebound fell to Koke who opened up Llorente to put a lob into the area. Geertruida, instead of a ball, must have seen a UFO because he stood still and the ball hit him in the thigh and inside.

The goal improved Atletico and calmed the Dutch spirits. Even Minteh, a constant threat, disappeared for a few minutes. It came in handy for Riquelme, who was forced to make sustained and very long efforts to support Hermoso in the face of threats from the Gambian striker. He reappeared to simulate a rude penalty. In times of VAR it's infamous to keep seeing those things, but they keep happening.

The game got muddled and stuck, in the final part of the first half. A blessing for the team that is ahead and also for Cholo, who this year has his team ready for any challenge, be it offensive or defensive. And Griezmann is the player who best represents that balance. In fact, after the first half in that first phase, he almost scored in the first minute of the second if it wasn't for the post.

Night of Failures

And from the equaliser that Witsel almost conceded after a dribble was played in a forbidden area, to Atlético's second a minute later. Hermoso made good the phrase of forcefulness in the areas that Cholo likes so much. The Spaniard was forced to play a deep ball from a very angled angle and decided to put a 'patapum parriba' to see what would come out. What came out was a perfect Vaseline that Bijlow could only accompany with his eyes. Seeing is believing.

As the night was too simple. The Atletico defence decided not to appear at a Dutch corner in search of strong emotions. Wieffer spiced up the game with a header almost without jumping. Luckily Giménez, the Mexican, decided to throw a wink at one of his suitors with an own goal after a lateral free kick taken by Molina. Feyenoord would keep trying, but the ramp was too steep.

  • Atletico Madrid