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Deportivo La Coruña
5 April 2014
• Estadio Vicente Calderón, Madrid
Referee: Jesús Gil
• Attendance: 43722
Raúl García 14'
That's all we have time for from Estadio Vicente Calderon, as Atletico ground out a vital 1-0 victory over Villarreal. I've been Simon Harrison and I see you all again next time. Los Rojiblancos continue to lead La Liga!
A very good performance from the visitors, who were let down by one instance of poor defending. Atletico stay in front in La Liga for at least another week, with Real Madrid and Barcelona set to play later this afternoon. Those ugly wins are the type that win you titles.
FULL TIME! A huge result for the home side, with Raul Garcia's early header enough to push Los Rojiblancos over the line. The hosts managed to weather a Villarreal storm in the second half, with a late Alderweireld deflection nearly gifting Marcelino's men an equaliser at the death.
90' + 3'
Raul Garcia flicks on a header, before he is clattered from behind by a strong challenge. He goes down, hoping to waste a few seconds, and Atletico are really close to a massive result here.
90' + 1'
There are three minutes of added time at the end of this game! Aquino whips in a cross from deep, but Moises is unable to reach it at the back post, with Juanfran able to pick up the scraps and drive upfield. Jokic pulls on his shirt and is penalised.
ALDERWEIRELD! That was nearly an own goal! The Belgian defender manages to turn Moises' cross across his own goalmouth, but nobody is on hand to turn it home and the ball flashes past the back post! Heart in mouth moment at Estadio Vicente Calderon.
It's relentless pressure for Atletico to deal with at the moment, but Simeone's men are slightly higher up the field. Villarreal continue to push forward, but Tiago is on hand to throw himself into a strong challenge, being clattered in the process. The Portuguese looks in some discomfort, but is probably trying to find down the clock a little.
Atletico continue to sit deep, staying compact and hoping that the visitors can't play through them. The hosts look to have rode the heavy pressure and weathered the storm, but there is still time for Villarreal to find an equaliser. Simeone continues to encourage the fans to find their voice.
Juanfran is pressured by Moises, the substitute, but manages to shepherd the ball out of play for a goal-kick. The home fans are nervous, the songs are getting a little bit muffled as the clock ticks towards the 90 minute mark. There will be a fair few minutes of stoppage time too.
Good clearance from Tiago! The substitute hammers a ball behind for a corner, after a great cut-back from Cani! El Submarino Amarillo continues to push forward and anywhere will do for Simeone's side at the moment!
Yellow Card Mario Suárez
Ten minutes left, with Mario Suarez commemorating the landmark with a yellow card. He outmuscles Cani, but is penalised for a cynical foul by the referee. He's got every right to complain, that wasn't a bad challenge by any means.
TIAGO! The substitute runs onto a loose ball from 30 yards, after great work down the right hand side from Sosa! The Portuguese strikes it first-time, but drags an awful effort way wide of the post!
A quarter of an hour remaining, with Atletico still having their backs against the wall. Courtois remains relatively untested, but the pressure is really building on Simeone's men and the former Rojiblanco defender knows it. If they can hang on to the win, it'll be a great psychological triumph too.
RAUL GARCIA! The captain tries his luck from range, curling a left-footed effort well within the reach of Sergio Asenjo. A warning sign for Villarreal, with their first chance for a quarter of an hour met by vociferous applause.
Perbet drives into the box once again, looking a real threat for the visitors. He's crowded out, with Alderweireld making a tentative challenge to rob the Frenchman of the ball. Villarreal remain on the ascendancy.
Simeone throws on Sosa for Diego Ribas, hoping for his side to be shored up in midfield through extra intensity. It appears that the Argentine coach wants to slow things down and break up Villarreal's spell of dominance, settling into a clear two banks of four in an attempt to frustrate.
Yellow Card Raúl García
PERBET! The away side put together another excellent move, before Perbet receives a pass on the edge of the penalty area. He opens up his body before attempting to curl the ball into the top right hand corner, but it loops onto the roof of the net! Courtois wasn't getting there!
PINA! He can't quite stretch to reach it! Filipe Luis is able to head clear at the back post, after the midfielder just couldn't connect with a cross. Villarreal are well on top and you can feel the nerves in Estadio Vicente Calderon.
Yellow Card Koke
Just over twenty minutes left to play and Atletico are only in a good position on the scoreboard. Koke is booked for a late challenge on Pina, but complains that Pantic had previously got away with a similar tackle - an opinion that Simeone agrees with.
Perbet is complaining to the referee, as he believes he was tackled from behind in the penalty area, but the official isn't interested. Simeone is maniacally calling for aid from his supporters as his side are under pressure. He's calling for more noise from Atletico's fans!
Joan Ángel Román
Now the away side make a change, with the pacey youngster Juan Roman being yanked off despite looking sharp. Aquino is his replacement, showing that Marcelino is intent on getting forward and continuing this extremely positive start to the second half.
David Villa is now taken off, perhaps rested, with Adrian taking to the field in his place. No goal for the experienced ex-Valencia man, but he's acted as a reasonable focal point. Diego Costa's boots are big ones to fill this season.
CANI! Great move from Villarreal! The away side exchange one-touch passes through the middle of the park, with Cani and Pina linking up with an impressive one-two. The former takes a shot from the edge of the box, but drags it harmlessly wide. Better from Marcelino's men.
Perbet is caught offside once again! The Frenchman peels off the back of Godin, before looking to race in behind the Atleti lines to reach an incisive through ball. His first touch is poor, but it doesn't matter, the linesman has his flag aloft once again. He's been offside far too much this afternoon.
The home supporters are trying to rouse up additional support, possibly a result of Simeone's plea earlier in the week for fans to not only watch, but to participate. As the La Liga season reaches its business end, every bit of motivation can help.
Tiago is introduced into the action as Simeone's first change of the game, with the experienced Portuguese able to instil some calm into an Atletico side who are struggling to get a foothold in the second half. The visitors have came out of the traps well thus far.
TRIGUEROS! The Villarreal forward isn't afraid to shoot, with Perbet accidentally deflecting his teammate's strike in a different direction, wrongfooting Courtois. The linesman raises his flag on the far side, however, as the Frenchman was in an offside position when Trigueros' strike made contact with him.
Good goalkeeping from Asenjo! The Atletico loanee is quick off his line to steal a through ball off the toe of David Villa, who has been much more involved in the second half, as the home side are being forced into playing more direct balls.
DAVID VILLA! The Spain international receives a pass inside the penalty area from Filipe Luis, before opening up his body nicely. He curls an effort in search of the far post, but Sergio Asenjo is equal to it. Villarreal break upfield, but a cross from the left hand side is cleared well by Filipe Luis.
Villarreal are looking somewhat resurgent, looking to press and harry the home side as quickly as possible. A couple of early set pieces have caused Atleti one or two problems, but Godin has been on hand to defuse the situations.
Pina is robbed of possession on the edge of the box, before the rebound makes its way to Mario Gaspar, who balloons another long-range effort high and wide. Juan Roman moans at his teammate for shooting, he himself was in plenty of space on the right flank.
A 1-0 lead in La Liga has only been good enough for Atletico on three occasions this season, with Los Rojiblancos presumably keen to try and find the game's second goal as soon as possible. Diego Ribas has only started in one Atleti victory since his return, a record that Simeone will be hoping doubles this afternoon.
We are back underway in the second half, as Diego Simeone's men look to put all of the pressure on Barcelona and Real Madrid, who play in their respective matches later today. Marcelino's men are by no means of this fixture, however, leaving Los Rojiblancos the job of sealing the three points.
Villarreal have pressed forward well at times, but are looking somewhat suspect at the back. Gabriel Paulista and Pantic have both had shaky moments, with Sergio Asenjo looking nervously whenever Koke stands over a dead ball. Still plenty of play for, so be sure to tune back in for all of the second half action in ten minutes time!
A couple of half chances of Perbet and Trigueros around the edge of the box, but Atletico's midfield and defence have generally pressured and stayed compact brilliantly. Courtois has claimed a couple of crosses and made one comfortable save, telling the story of the half.
HALF TIME! The referee calls time as soon as his stop-watch hits 45 minutes, allowing for Atletico to get into the dressing room with a slender 1-0 lead. Diego Simeone won't be allowing them to get complacent, with their narrow advantage achieved by a corner turned home by Raul Garcia.
A few minutes remain of this first half, with Atleti looking the more comfortable of the two sides, a lack of stoppages mean that we won't be looking at too much added time.
Diego takes his turn to take a corner, but the Brazilian can only curl a delivery onto a Villarreal head! They're getting plenty of yellow shirts back into the box following their lax defending previously which resulted in Raul Garcia wheeling away in celebration.
Yellow Card Gabriel Paulista
JOKIC! Villarreal win a corner after a lack of communication between Godin and Filipe Luis, before the Slovenian full-back is found by a half-clearance at the back post. He lets rip with a fierce volley, but his strike is charged down well.
GODIN! Another Koke set piece, another threatening attack for Atleti! Gabriel Paulista and Mario combine well to provide enough of an aerial presence to prevent the Uruguayan from having an easy run at the ball, before Sergio Asenjo picks up the pieces.
Atleti start to build some sustained pressure, with their midfield intensity proving hard for the away side to handle. Trigueros and Perbet are looking fairly bright at the offensive end of Marcelino's outfit, but they're getting little in the way of support.
TRIGUEROS! The forward sidesteps a challenge on the edge of the Atletico penalty area, before looking to get a shot away, but Godin steps in brilliantly to make a great block. The home side are looking comfortable and assured.
VILLA! The experienced striker rises well on the penalty spot, but can't turn his attempted header towards goal, with Gabriel doing just enough to put him off. Raul Garcia wants a corner, but the referee points for a goal kick.
PERBET! Half chance for the forward, who is dispossed deep in the penalty area! Atleti manage to clear, but Juan Roman gets the ball on the right flank as a result. The youngster whips in a good cross to the back post, but neither Trigueros or Cani can meet it!
Atletico are starting to suffocate the Villarreal attack, with the likes of Trigueros and Perbet being dealt with quickly and mercilessly. The Frenchman is strangled by a combination of the pressing Alderweireld and the back-tracking Mario Suarez.
An impressive performance from Alderweireld thus far, with the Belgian deputising for Miranda well. The thought has to be resting the Brazilian ahead of the Champions League return leg versus Barcelona, but Alderweireld is staking a claim for a start next week this afternoon.
Awful clearance from Pantic! The Serbian slices the ball high into the air, before failing to meet the loose ball as it plummeted back to the ground. Villarreal escape, despite the ball bouncing in their own penalty area, and the visiting defender is a relieved man. Cani is then scythed down by a late challenge from Koke.
CHANCE FOR ATLETI! Trigueros and Sergio Asenjo combine to clear another Koke's corner delivery from danger, as the hosts threaten once again! It was suspect goalkeeping from the Villarreal goalkeeper, who was nearly outmuscled by goalscorer Raul Garcia, flapping at the ball.
Diego Simeone remains glued to the edge of his technical area, always vocal and looking to encourage his players. This game means a lot to the Argentine, as shown by his celebration after Raul Garcia's goal, and his reaction to three points against Bilbao last time out in La Liga.
Filipe Luis gets tight to his man, robbing Juan Roman of the ball before driving forward. Both sides are looking to grab this game by the scruff of the neck, egged on by their passionate supporters. Pina is penalised for a late sliding challenge, he won't be too far away from a booking if he makes another needless tackle.
The opening twenty minutes haven't been as straight-forward as the scoreline suggests, with Villarreal bright and keen to push on. Marcelino's men only know one way to play, to attack, and it could hurt Atleti if they switch off. Diego Costa is usually the man to drive Los Rojiblancos forward, but he isn't present this afternoon.
Atletico are defending very well, staying compact and surrendering no space in midfield despite midfield lynchpins Gabi and Tiago not being involved. Mario shoots from 25 yards, but Courtois is able to gather up his shot easily.
The home supporters are in good voice now, with nerves settled through that goal! It was terrible defending from Villarreal, despite initial good defending by Jokic to deny Raul Garcia at the back post first time around, which conceded the corner.
Goal Raúl García
GOOOOOOOOAL! RAUL GARCIA HEADS HOME FROM A CORNER! The Spaniard nods the ball into the top right hand corner to net his ninth goal of the season! He isn't tracked and that goes down as awful defending from Villarreal! Atleti lead 1-0!
This time it's Pantic's turn to cut out a good pass. Atleti are looking to play David Villa in behind whenever possible, knowing that the Spain international needs merely a sight of goal to convert. Plenty needs to be done to fill the void left by Diego Costa, but Villa will be a key cog in doing so.
Perbet is causing a few problems early on, with the French striker scampering around to try and make the ball stick to him. Filipe Luis has looked a little suspect defensively so far, with Pina, Juan Roman and Perbet able to drift into the Brazilian left-back's zone of responsibility.
The high intensity continues, with Gabriel on hand this time to clear a Filipe Luis cross away from danger. David Villa is looking a little isolated up top, with plenty being asked of the experienced striker to try and do what is normally Diego Costa's running.
So close for Atleti! Mario Suarez slides a lovely pass through the lines to the feet of Diego, who pivots smartly and tries to set David Villa through on goal. Gabriel Paulista makes the vital interception, with the defences coming out on top thus far. Courtois claims yet another cross with ease.
PERBET! The Frenchman is fed in behind Atletico's lines by Cani, but his first-time cross is straight into the awaiting grasp of Courtois. The away side are showing no fear in the opening stages, they're getting forward and pouring yellow shirts into attack whenever possible.
DIEGO! Well, that was rehearsed, Koke whips a corner delivery to the edge of the box, inviting the ex-Wolfsburg man to strike it on the volley, but the Brazilian loops his effort over the bar! Perhaps Simeone took inspiration from his defeat versus Osasuna, Cejudo fired home a goal like that!
A great start to the game! End-to-end stuff, with both sides looking to get forward as quickly as possible. Villarreal have pace in advanced areas, but two interceptions from Alderweireld have stopped the visitors' opening two attack in their tracks. David Villa has an early shot blocked.
Good interception from Alderweireld! Juan Roman breaks down the right hand side, beating Filipe Luis for pace, but his cut-back is well read by the former Ajax defender! He puts the ball behind for a corner, but it comes to nothing for the visitors.
We are underway in the first half! It's a beautiful day in Madrid, with the perfect conditions for a wonderful spectacle this afternoon! Villarreal managed to take some points from Atletico last time these two sides met, but there are plenty of different personnel involved from the start today.
There are ten minutes until kick-off, so be sure to stick around for all of the action at Estadio Vicente Calderon, as Atletico look to stay ahead at the top of La Liga, with Villarreal desperate to grab some points to take them towards a Europa League finish. With Barcelona and Real Madrid playing later today, Simeone's men will want to put the pressure on them before they kick-off.
Villarreal substitutes: Aquino, Jonathan Pereira, Juan Carlos, Moises, Blazquez, Leiva.
Villarreal starting line-up: Sergio Asenjo; Mario Gaspar, Gabriel Paulista, Pantic, Jokic; Bruno, Pina; Joan Roman, Cani; Trigueros, Perbet.
Atletico substitutes: Aranzubia, Tiago, Adrian, Insua, Miranda, Sosa, Samuel Saiz.
Atletico starting line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Alderweireld, Godin, Filipe Luis; Mario Suarez, Koke; Rodriguez, Raul Garcia, Diego Ribas; David Villa.
TEAM NEWS: Joan Roman gets a start in attacking midfield, with similarly young compatriot taking a seat on the bench as a result. Musacchio, Gio, Oliver Torres and Uche aren't available for the visitors, leaving plenty of voids to fill. Jokic comes in at left-back, with Trigueros joining Perbet in attack, as Marcelino makes a couple of changes following Villarreal's disappointing home draw with Elche.
A draw in the Champions League, courtesy of a thunderbolt from Diego, looks to have changed Simeone's superstition about the Brazilian - as today's home side have only won one game which the ex-Wolfsburg man has started since his return. Diego Ribas was the man that the Argentine coach wanted in January and he got his wish, now that Los Rojiblancos are missing two key players, the time is right for the attacking midfielder to step up and perform.
TEAM NEWS: A few changes, both enforced and by choice for Atletico, as Diego Simeone looks to keep things fresh ahead of their second Champions League leg against Barcelona next week. Mario Suarez and Koke are the deep midfield pairing, due to a suspension for Gabi and a rest for Tiago. Diego Costa and Arda Turan are sidelined through injury, meaning that David Villa leads the line alone with loan man Diego Ribas in behind him.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you up to date with all of the action as Atletico look to maintain their lead at the top of the Spanish top flight. Plenty of absences for the hosts, but Villarreal are a team struggling for form. Marcelino's men have only registered one win since late February, but El Submarino Amarillo remain in the hunt for a European place.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Atletico's La Liga clash against Villarreal, as Los Rojiblancos look to keep themselves ahead in the title race. Currently, two points separate Diego Simeone's side with Barcelona, leaving today's hosts little option but to win all of their remaining matches. Villarreal missed out on the chance to move into fifth place last week, drawing with Elche, but can put the pressure on Sevilla and Real Sociedad with an unlikely victory on the road this afternoon.
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