As predicted in this week’s Colchonero Chat, Atletico struggled to break down Rostov in Russia. They managed to get there in the end and few will be talking about a trip to the deep south of Russia when the business end of the tournament comes around, but the three points picked up on Wednesday night were vital to Atletico’s chances.
Diego Simeone opted for Fernando Torres up front instead of Kevin Gameiro in the only change to the line-up from Atletico’s 7-1 victory over Granada at the weekend.
El Nino cut a frustrated figure up front as Atletico had chance after chance in the first half with no end product. Yannick Carrasco was still buzzing from his performance at the weekend that resulted in three goals and two assists but there was a sense that he was trying too hard at times. Ditto Angel Correa, who was one of Atletico’s best performers in the opening 45 minutes.
Atletico’s best chance fell to the Argentinian when Carrasco played FIlipe Luis through on the left and the Brazilian swung a low and hard cross across Rostov’s penalty area. As the ball glided past several defenders, Correa was put off by a defender in front of him as the ball ricocheted off his ankle and over the crossbar.
In another instance of Diego Simeone’s excellent options off the bench, he replaced Correa and within five minutes of that change Atletico were in the lead.
Who else with the goal other than Carrasco, who has scored as many goals in his last four games (five) as he did in his previous fifty.
On a near freezing night in Russia, Atletico put away a side who are resilient at home as you can see from the tweet below.
Rostov had gone 26 games unbeaten at home before tonight - but then Atleti came to town, and remain unbeaten this season (W8 D3).— David Cartlidge (@davidjaca) October 19, 2016
It was not pretty, it was never going to be and it was far from a classic. Atletico march on after strengthening their grip on Group D and will look to the weekend when they play Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in a battle of first versus third in La Liga.