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Deportivo La Coruña
August 25, 2014
• Estadio del Rayo Vallecano (de Vallecas Teresa Rivero), Madrid
Referee: Carlos Clos Gomez
• Attendance: 11070
That's all we have time for from Madrid, as Rayo and Atleti draw 0-0 in Vallecas - not the start which Simeone and his side would have hoped for. The hosts remained resilient and deserve their point as a result. I've been Simon Harrison and I hope to see you again next time.
A fairly efficient first-half performance turns into a poor display for Atleti, as Simeone's men fail to come out of the traps after the half-time break. Bueno and Manucho had late chances, with Moya able to make an important save to deny the latter.
FULL TIME! It's a stalemate at Vallecas, with Atleti unable to turn in a performance worthy of title winners. Mandzukic had a couple of golden chances in the first half, before a resurgent Rayo looked likely to grab the three points after the interval.
90' + 3'
Juanfran picks up a late yellow card for a poor challenge on Manucho, coming through the back of the substitute in rather clumsy fashion. That could have been more of a case of frustration that anything else.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Juanfran
90' + 1'
We're into the first of three minutes of stoppage time in Vallecas.
Mario Suarez manages to meet a Koke corner at the back post, but it is blocked well! Alvarez was already diving and probably had his angles covered, but Atleti thought they they were in with half a chance of netting a winner there.
Tito and Hernandez take it in turns to needlessly pass the ball out of play under minimal pressure, as this game begins to come to a close. Koke tries to break upfield quickly after an error from Rayo in midfield, but Kakuta tracks back well to rob Juanfran of possession.
Atleti look to break, with Koke placing a ball in behind Quini for Ansaldi to chase, but the left-back doesn't make the run, leaving the Spain international stood with his hands on his hips. Things just haven't gone los Colchoneros' way this evening.
Cristian Rodriguez replaces Griezmann, with the Uruguayan not having long left to live up to the reputation he has of grabbing goals from off the bench. Rayo continue to look comfortable and dominate possession, with Atleti's balls upfield mostly taking form as hurried clearances.
Yellow Card Mario Suárez
Aquino is enjoying himself down the right-hand side, with Mario Suarez forced to shove the Mexican to the ground in order to prevent his cross. Rayo are turning the screw now, with the hosts claiming for a penalty, but the referee isn't interested.
Less than ten minutes are left for the reigning Spanish champions to open their season with a victory. Rayo are content to hold onto the ball and force Atleti to chase, with Jemez's side much the better of the two since the interval.
Manucho tries to hook a volley over his shoulder towards goal, but Moya is able to claim easily! Rayo are looking to be most likely to open the scoring at this point of the game, with Atleti's changes giving them fresh legs but little in the way of inspiration.
Excellent trickery from Aquino! The Mexican winger uses a Bergkamp-esque flick to get beyond Ansaldi, before delivering a good near post cross. Miranda manages to get to the ball ahead of Manucho, before Godin mops up.
Under a quarter of an hour remains for Atleti to find their opening goal of the season, with the home fans remaining very positive of their side's chance of taking some points. Koke shoots on the half-volley from the edge of the area, but a combination of Manucho and Ze Castro makes an important block.
Manucho is causing much more problems in the Atleti penalty area, with the substitute able to battle physically with the visiting back four. Mandzukic is withdrawn for the away side after a disappointing second half, with Hector Hernandez introduced.
Bueno almost manages to test Moya, but Godin slides in brilliantly to deny the Rayo striker. The hosts are increasing the pressure on their title-winning opponents, but los Colchoneros are unable to muster up anything in response.
Good save from Moya! Rayo work the ball out to the right well again, before Manucho is picked out by a cross. The Angolan striker gets his head to the ball, but the Atletico goalkeeper is at full stretch to push the effort away from goal!
Bueno manages to flick on a long pass, but Manucho is just about beaten to the ball by an alert Moya. Atletico break courtesy of a long ball forward, but Ze Castro slides in excellently to deny Griezmann on the edge of the box.
Kakuta manages to shoot from the edge of the box after the aforementioned corner is cleared, but his strike hits Manucho! The former Manchester United striker is in an offside position, however, meaning that Moya is denied the chance to make his first meaningful save of the game.
Plenty of substitutes are now warming up, with Jemez keen to keep things as they are, while Burgos is posed with carrying out Simeone's wishes on the touchline. An early cross is whipped in from the right by Rayo, forcing Miranda to hack behind for a corner.
Trashorras floats a deep free-kick into the box, but Mandzukic does his defensive duty well to head the danger clear. Rayo are doing well to frustrate their illustrious neighbours, with plenty being asked of Atleti's early title credentials.
The referee has a busy few minutes, dishing out a couple of cautions - with Miranda the latest to be awarded one. Quini goes down holding his ankle, but is back to his feet before the physios need to be called on, due to a late Griezmann tackle.
Yellow Card Abdoulaye Ba
Jimenez is withdrawn for Simeone's side, as the Mexican forward has struggled to have any kind of effect on this match. Saul is his replacement, who had an excellent loan spell in Vallecas merely last season. With half an hour left, Atleti are struggling for inspiration.
Atleti work the ball well from deep, before Griezmann exchanges backheel with Mandzukic and places a pass in behind Kakuta for Juanfran to chase. The Spaniard appears to kick out at the Frenchman as he shields the ball out for a goal-kick, but the linesman isn't interested in Kakuta's claims.
Rayo almost manage to break upfield, but Manucho can't quite wriggle through a small gap in the Atleti defence. Moments later, a loose ball nearly falls to the former Real Valladolid striker in the box, but Godin hurriedly hacks away the danger.
Mario Suarez manages to win the ball back on the edge of the Rayo penalty area, before releasing an ambitious shot. It deflects wide of the far post and behind for a corner. It results in nothing for the away side.
Kakuta robs Juanfran, but the Atleti right-back manages to recover well and play the ball off his man. The Frenchman has been Rayo's most tricky customer so far tonight, as Atleti struggled to impose themselves in the second half.
Jonathan Pereira is withdrawn for Manucho, with the Angolan striker definitely providing more of a physical presence to battle against Miranda and Godin. Bueno will be pleased, he won't have to fight his corner alone anymore.
The free-kick is cut back to Koke on the edge of the box, but the Spain international tries a rather ambitious first-time effort which ends up heading way over the crossbar.
Griezmann cuts inside from the right-hand side, dancing past two men, before being tripped by an outstretched leg by Ba. Atleti have a free-kick in a very dangerous area, while it appears that Manucho is prepared to come on for the hosts.
Rayo have started the second half well, pressing high upfield and trying to ruffle the feathers of their opponents. They've managed to fashion a couple of chances, but Moya remains untroubled.
Godin goes down clutching his foot, after a supposed foul by Kakuta. The Frenchman appeared to tread on the toe of the Uruguayan defender, which could be a sore one. The Atleti man is slowly back to his feet without treatment.
Good break from Rayo! Kakuta drives through the heart of the Atleti midfield, before sliding a pass into Bueno. The lone striker tries his luck from 20 yards, but drags his eventual shot horribly wide of the target.
We are underway in the second half! This local derby appears to be going all the way to the wire, with Rayo thus far able to deal with whatever Simeone's side have had to throw at them - but Jemez's men can always look a threat on the break.
Be sure to rejoin us in ten minutes time for all of the second half action, as Rayo look to cling onto a very valuable point, while Atleti target a winning start to the season. There are plenty of options on either bench, but the away side do look much the likelier to break the deadlock.
Kakuta and Aquino have been lively on the flanks for Rayo, but Bueno has been kept very quite by the physical combination of Miranda and Godin - with Moya a spectator. Griezmann and Koke have been willing Atleti runners from midfield, while Ansaldi has provided good service on the overlap.
HALF TIME! Goalless at the break in Vallecas, with Jemez presumably the happier coach given that Alvarez has been the busier goalkeeper by far. Mandzukic has had plenty of opportunity to net his first La Liga goal, but it's not quite happening for the Croatia international.
Another dangerous cross from Rayo, with Quini delivering from deep on the right flank. Kakuta can't beat Juanfran in the air, allowing for Atleti to break. Jimenez is beaten to a forward pass by Ba, before the former Club America man clips the heels of his man and commits a clumsy foul.
Jimenez is nearly able to combine with Griezmann to great effect, but the two aren't quite on the same wavelength and the intended through ball from the Mexican results in Alvarez claiming easily.
Raul Baena needs to watch himself at the moment, the midfielder tugs on Koke's shirt this time, giving away another foul. Given his earlier caution, Jemez may be forced to make a precautionary change at half-time.
Big chance for Jimenez! Mandzukic holds up play well at the edge of the box, before sliding a through ball in behind Quini for Koke to chase. The Spain international squares the ball, but Jimenez can't make contact from six yards out! Rayo break, but Miranda uses his pace and strength to shield possession back to Moya.
Juanfran whips in a cross, which Jimenez can't quite turn towards goal. The rebound falls to Ansaldi, who sees his delivery deflected behind for an Atleti corner. Alvarez is able to come off his line and punch clear at the near post, however.
Less than ten minutes until the break and this game is yet to see the opening goal. It has been a close contest thus far, but Mandzukic won't be able to sleep tonight if Atleti don't come out with a win - his missed chances could prove costly.
Atleti approach the Rayo penalty area well, before Ba is forced to make a timely interception to deny Koke. The away side pick up the pieces, before working possession wide to Ansaldi on the left-hand side. The Argentine whips in another good cross, but the former Porto defender rises well to head clear.
Yellow Card Raúl Baena
Raul Baena earns himself a yellow card for a cynical tug on Mandzukic as the Croatian forward attempted to lead an Atleti counter-attack. The Rayo midfielder complains, but that's the easiest decision the referee has had to make all game.
Great move from Rayo! The hosts play through the centre of the field, with Jonathan Pereira able to squeeze a through ball into the path of Bueno. The lone striker tries to turn inside Godin to use his favoured right foot to shoot, but the Uruguay international mercilessly gets rid of the danger.
Kakuta manages to dig out another cross from the left-hand side, putting it into a dangerous areas at the back post, but Aquino isn't there to sweep the ball home. Ansaldi is cool enough to cushion the delivery down to Moya.
Koke lets fly from 30 yards, but the young midfielder's effort blazes high and wide. Jemez is becoming rather animated on the sidelines, given that Rayo have been carved apart several times in the past few minutes. Atleti are searching for the opening goal in Vallecas.
Alvarez makes another important save! Atleti open play out to the right-hand side, with Mandzukic found again galloping into the area. He tries to slide a finish underneath the advancing goalkeeper, but the Rayo shot-stopper smothers the ball! The away side are turning the screw.
Another attempt from Mandzukic, but this time the former Bayern man barely worries Alvarez. The Atleti forward shoots from 20 yards, but the ball makes its way safely into the awaiting arms of the goalkeeper.
MANDZUKIC GOES CLOSE! Miranda is forced into an important header, as Trashorras launches a long pass in search of Bueno. Atleti break down the left, with Ansaldi delivering a great cross to the back post. The Croatia international slides in to apply the finish, but stabs wide of the upright.
Rayo enjoy a length spell of possession, but they aren't particularly threatening their opponents. Much of the play thus far has been in the midfield third, with the ball lost due to poor passes or an accomplished tackle. Only Alvarez has had a save to make.
Despite Griezmann starting on the right-hand side of midfield, the Frenchman is popping up all over the field in the opposition half, with his direct running forcing some risky challenges from the home side. They have to step out at times, which can open gaps to exploit.
Rayo continue to press well in midfield, with the visitors finding it difficult to penetrate the hosts' lines and find the feet of Mandzukic and Jimenez. Jemez is ensuring that his defence keeps a high line too, to prevent Atleti from getting in behind without risking an offside decision.
Good save from Alvarez! The Argentine goalkeeper races off his line excellently to deny Griezmann, with the Frenchman racing in on goal. Moments earlier, Trashorras exchanged a one-two with Aquino, but the Mexican winger asked too much of his experienced teammate with a back-heeled return.
Juanfran and Kakuta clash heads, but both players are fine to continue within 20 seconds. Rayo are continuing to look buoyant and confident in what is a very good atmosphere in Madrid.
Rayo are transitioning upfield excellently, turning possession over and looking to test the defensive mettle of their opposition. Atleti have been limited to trying to flight crosses into the box, but Quini has done a good job of preventing deliveries from the left-hand side by getting out to his man early.
Raul Baena goes down after claiming to have been caught by a stray arm from Mandzukic, but the referee isn't interested. Gabi tries to shoot from range as Alvarez is caught off his line, but Ze Castro is able to block the effort and spare his goalkeeper's blushes.
Both Moya and Alvarez remain untroubled, with their respective defences doing enough to prevent shooting opportunities from central areas. The home fans are in great voice, urging forward their patchwork line-up. Simeone, meanwhile, can only watch on from a private box.
The Frenchman is involved for Rayo once again, with Kakuta earning himself a yard of space to cross. Miranda is able to cut it out at the near post, but the hosts are looking full of fight and desire inside the opening ten minutes.
Kakuta manages to pick up a loose ball deep in the Atleti penalty area, but Juanfran does just enough to get a touch on the former Chelsea man's attempted cross. It loops beyond the back post and Ansaldi is able to clear up the scraps and put the ball down the line.
Jimenez tries to break in behind Ba, but the Mexican forward is caught offside - which doesn't stop him from shooting anyway. It's a bright start at Vallecas, with both sides keen to break upfield at real pace.
Griezmann plays a lovely ball in behind Quini for Ansaldi to chase, before the Argentine curls in a back post cross. Mandzukic nor Jimenez can get on the end of it, however. Gabi comes back onto the field with a head dressing.
Cristian Ansaldi has actually been thrown into Atleti's starting line-up at the last possible minute, with Siqueira having trouble with a muscular complaint. The Argentine is given his first league start at los Colchoneros.
Atleti win a deep free-kick as Bueno is penalised for a high boot on Gabi. It was a nasty, but innocuous, challenge as the Rayo forward raked his studs down the visiting captain's head.
Rayo try to break forward from the very start, with Godin and Miranda forced into early strong challenges on the edge of their own penalty area. The hosts aren't prepared to lose without a fight, that has never been Jemez's attitude in the Spanish top flight.
We are underway in the first half! Plenty of new faces on both teams, but hopefully the pre-season preparation has paid off and we will see two cohesive systems. Atletico have already proven their mettle in the Super Cup, but Rayo are yet to try their hand at competitive action with this group of players.
The two teams are on the field and we're minutes away from kicking off these two respective sides' La Liga campaigns. Rayo are in their white with a red sash, meaning that Atletico have to revert to their yellow and blue away strip.
With Atleti's curtain raiser merely a quarter of an hour away, be sure to stick around for all of the action as the reigning league champions attempt to start in impressive fashion once again. They're much changed, but Simeone's side definitely have the quality required to make another challenge for the title. Their efforts start tonight!
Atletico substitutes: Oblak, Hector Hernandez, Saul, Gimenez, Ansaldi, Rodriguez, Tiago.
Atletico starting line-up: Moya; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Siqueira; Mario Suarez, Gabi; Koke, Griezmann; Jimenez, Mandzukic.
Rayo substitutes: Morcillo, Pozuelo, Cobeno, Nacho Martinez, Adri Embarba, Manucho, Lica.
Rayo starting line-up: Alvarez; Tito, Ze Castro, Ba, Quini; Raul Baena, Roberto Trashorras; Aquino, Jonathan Pereira, Kakuta; Bueno.
TEAM NEWS: Atleti go with the same back four that enjoyed success in the Super Cup versus Real Madrid, with Mario Suarez coming back into defensive midfield in place of Tiago. Antoine Griezmann is deployed out wide tonight, as recent signing Raul Jimenez partners Mario Mandzukic in attack - with the aforementioned three all making their respective league debuts. Moya retains his place in goal, while Guilherme Siqueira is preferred to Cristian Ansaldi at left-back.
TEAM NEWS: Plenty of debuts for Rayo, with Gael Kakuta and Javier Aquino providing the width for one of the club's top scorers of last season - Alberto Bueno. Aboulaye Ba starts in central defence following his switch from Porto, while loanee Lica is on the bench. Former Real Madrid Castilla man Quini is at left full-back, with Roberto Trashorras and Raul Baena the familiar duo in midfield.
Simeone won't be on the sideline for Atleti tonight, due to the Argentine coach being banned for his needless actions during the Spanish Super Cup second leg. Assistant coach German Burgos is the rather sizeable man to step into the managerial void. Rayo know they're in for a stern test tonight, but Jemez's side always approach fixtures with the same intensity regardless of opposition.
I'm Simon Harrison and I will be keeping you up to date with all of the action from Vallecas, in what should be a competitive local derby in the Spanish capital. Both squads have needed considerable attention due to their numerous outgoings, but both Paco Jemez and Simeone certainly have some La Liga pedigree on show this evening.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Atletico Madrid's opening La Liga fixture, with los Rojiblancos having to endure the task of facing Rayo Vallecano without coach and motivator Diego Simeone. As is always the case, tonight's hosts have had to contend with a lot of transfer movement during the summer, with only five familiar faces in terms of last season's personnel.
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