Atlético is a leader of the League in the bones, beset by casualties and without the bellows that it exhibited in a majestic first round. An army that lost João Félix and Trippier due to injury at Villamarín, who was outmatched in many phases of the match by a good Betis and who offers obvious symptoms of physical and mental fatigue. Carrasco’s goal allows him, however, to be the leader of Seville in a highly demanding duel, with a point over Madrid and Barcelona. Atlético lives on the savings reaped in an impressive first round. Now he is suffering and bleeding. If Oblak saved him in a second stage where Betis was superior, Correa enjoyed two very clear chances in injury time that were saved by Bravo. Wounded, Atlético was able to win even though they didn’t deserve it.
Betis played a good game, managed by the wisdom of a coach, Pellegrini, who has given them a lot. He lacked concrete in the second half, but in front, although diminished, was the leader of the League. Forced to find solutions, Pellegrini and Simeone squeezed their neurons to solve, essentially, the delicate losses of their scorers, Borja Iglesias and Luis Suárez. The Chilean, who has Betis in European positions, devised an unexpected team, opting for a very offensive lineup, with Joaquín and Fekir as forwards without being any specifically. The news was obvious, since the same Bartra returned three months later to the title that Herrera did after five. With more touch in the center and with João Félix and Correa as forwards, Atlético felt the need to assert themselves.
Injury of João Félix
At five minutes, Carrasco almost got into Bravo’s goal to make it 0-1. A wall between João Félix and the Belgian led Correa, a nuisance to the Betic defense, to attempt the shot against the local goalkeeper. The ball was dead to Carrasco, who shot Bartra with a feint and scored at an empty goal. A happy outlook was opening for Atlético, with a goal that calmed their anxiety and allowed them to give the initiative to Betis to seek to sentence the against. Pellegrini’s team, however, has a soul. He suffered a shot from Saúl that Bravo saved, but little by little he was recomposing himself. Not so much for Fekir, very guarded.
Much more for the good movements of Joaquín, who left the athletic centrals without a nine to score. The astonishing repertoire of the veteran footballer emerged with great courage to ask for the ball where it is more complicated. And, above all, disfigure the defensive fabric of Atlético with changes of rhythm and dribbles. In this football with so much passing, Joaquín’s leadership allowed the band to open up looking the other way. Álex Moreno focused well on the area, where Tello broke in to beat Oblak. The extreme left the band to appear in the area while Joaquín moved away from it to create soccer. Sometimes the best path is not the straightest, Pellegrini must have thought in the previous one. Better to break in than to occupy an area that Atlético usually defends well.
The game, balanced, turned from the touch of Betis to the fast movements of Atlético. The rojiblanco effort was evident, but the feeling reigned that a League leader must show more hierarchy. To add to his misfortune, João Félix’s ankle creaked after a clean crossing from Mandi.
Betis beat a confused Atlético in the second half due to the departure of the Portuguese striker. Carrasco no longer appeared and the Andalusians made quick counterattacks against a stuck rival. Oblak saved before Emerson and Lainez, like Giménez with Ruibal. While Simeone jumped in the band made a demon, Atlético threw pride in the extension. Bravo, twice, closed the way of the goal to Correa. Atlético is a suffering leader.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.