Atletico Madrid’s top-four hopes take a blow as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Granada in La Liga at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Atletico started the first half brightly. Quini was booked in the third minute, which saw the home side target the right-back’s side of the pitch through Yannick Carrasco. Early in the half, he received the ball from the middle of the pitch, and attempted a cutback move at the byline. However, no one was there to get on the end of the chance.
Carrasco continued to attempt the same move a few more times, but it never came off. As the half continued, Granada grew into the match. Their best chance came in the 20th minute, with Darwin Machis taking a shot after a free-kick routine, but it was straight at Jan Oblak.
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Around the 30th minute, Antoine Griezmann went down after a challenge from Victor Diaz in the box. The fans in the stadium whistled as the players protested, wanting a penalty. However, after a look from VAR, it was deemed a 50/50 challenge.
After some half-time substitutions from Diego Simeone , which included Luis Suarez, Atletico Madrid looked a bit sharper and more proactive in the second half.
They had two successive chances after about five minutes of play, with the first being a Griezmann shot outside of the box that just flashed wide at the far post.
The second chance came after Angel Correa created some space for himself, and took a long range shot that was also just on the other side of the post.
Atletico had 11 corners, 7 in the second half, and while they often won the initial header, they were unable to score with any of them, with Stefan Savic's header from their final one going just wide in the 88th minute.
A minute later, the hosts countered, with Carrasco pulling the ball back to Matheus Cunha. He took a couple of touches before firing towards goal, but a slight deflection from Duarte's block meant that the ball hit the cross bar.
Ultimately, neither side could find the back of the net within the 90 minutes. Atletico are currently second, however the teams below them have games in hand, and this draw could prove to be costly. Granada are still in 18th, but this draw puts them within one point of safety.
Up next, Atletico Madrid will head to Athletic Club, while Granada will host Celta Vigo.
TALKING POINT: LACKLUSTRE ATLETI
In their last league match against Espanyol, Diego Simeone’s substitutes proved to make the difference, which led to a last minute winner. Today, Simeone’s attacking subs didn’t make much of an impact. Despite Granada having injuries to a few key players and defending deep whilst not committing any men forward, Atletico were unable to get the better of their opponents backline, and hardly ever tested Luis Maximiano. The home side will be disappointed that they started both halves early, but were unable to take advantage, and slowly petered off in the later minutes of the game.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: DOMINGOS DUARTE
Granada only enjoyed 36% of the possession, so their backline was constantly under threat. However, they all held firm, and were able to pass the test. Duarte specifically was able to keep Griezmann and Correa under control. He also had no trouble defending against Suarez when the striker came on. With 4 clearances, 5 blocked shots, and 3 interceptions, he will be key in Granada’s run in; they’ll need to concede as little goals as possible if they want to remain in La Liga next season.
ATLETICO: Oblak 7, Savic 7, Hermoso 8, Mandavs 6, Llorente 6, Koke 6, Serrano 6, De Paul 7, Carrasco 7, Correa 6, Griezmann 6... Subs: Suarez 6, Lodi 7, Cunha 6, Vrsaljko 6, Simeone N/A.
GRANADA: Maximiano 7, Quini 6, Diaz 6, Duarte 8, Escudero 6, Puertas 6, Milla 7, Petrovic 7, Collado 6, Suarez 6, Machis 6... Subs: Eteki, Raba 6, Montoro 6, Bacca 6, Uzuni 6.
11’ - CARRASCO DOES WELL: He somehow avoids Granada's defenders, and keeps the ball in, but his ball into the box is straight to a Granada player.
31’ - PEN? Griezmann goes down in the box after a challenge from Diaz. Fans want a pen, and VAR is taking a look.
32’ - NO PEN: It was a bit of hard one to judge. Definitely some subjectivity: was it reckless, or was Diaz just defending his box? VAR decides it is a fair 50/50 challenge.
49’ - WHAT A CHANCE! Griezmann with a strike and it's just wide. Great play from Atleti, Carrasco to Correa who lays it off for the French striker.
51’ - ANOTHER ONE GOES WIDE! Correa creates some space with a drop of the shoulder, and his shot is also just wide of the other post. Atleti much more proactive so far.
88' - ATLETI CORNER: So close! Savic goes up for a powerful header, and it's just wide. Wow! Atleti winning every header during these corners.
89' - OFF THE WOODWORK: Cunha hits the post in his shot after Atleti go on a counter attack. The replay shows that there was a deflection. Close!
Atletico Madrid haven’t lost any of their last 19 home games against Granada, winning seventeen, and drawing two.
Granada have earned points in a away match against Atletico Madrid in La Liga for the first time since September 1974 [Opta].
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