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Real Betis 1-1 Atletico Madrid: Match Report

After Atlético Madrid again fell to city rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League, they then had the deeply uninspiring task of facing Real Betis away from home. 

Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Not only was Atlético Madrid’s exit to the Champions League disappointing because of the opponent, but also because it effectively ended Atleti’s season, as Champions League qualification is all but taken care of, there is little to motivate the players. That meant that a trip Seville against an already safe Real Betis meant little for either side. Betis could hinder their city rivals Sevilla by losing to Atleti, but that meant little them.

The lack of inspiration showed in the first half, Atleti were not on maximum attack, which was to be expected, but Atleti had very few chances in the first half, Betis having the majority of the possession and shots in the first half. Out of every player on the pitch, former Real Madrid goalkeeper Antonio Adan, who was on good form throughout the match, coming to Betis’ rescue a few times.

Again heading into halftime goalless, a couple weeks ago Atleti would have piled the pressure. However, just ten minutes into the second half, after Betis continued to push for a goal, they got one from a corner, as Dani Ceballos hit a volley well, but straight at Jan Oblak, who fumbled the shot into his own goal. Atlético did not have much momentum to begin with, appeared to have the wind knocked out of them, and substitutes were introduced by Diego Simeone to inject some energy into a lackluster performance.

Fernando Torres and Nico Gaitan were introduced in order to make some kind of difference in a match that really mattered very little to Atleti, but some kind of mood-raiser would not have gone amiss after a disappointing season came to a premature close. Torres replaced Kevin Gameiro, and Gaitan replaced Felipe Luis.

On 64 minutes, Atlético Madrid were awarded a free kick, which was lifted into the box, and kneed home by Stefan Savic, who had previously picked up a booking and will miss the final match of the season. The Betis players were certain that Savic was offside, and he could have been, but it was a very tight decision that could have gone either way.

Betis continued to push, making several really dangerous chances for themselves, and were kept out by several very good saves by Oblak. Following this Betis pressure, Simeone opted for defensive stability by introducing Thomas Partey, who came on for Antoine Griezmann. Clearly seeing this match out was of greater importance than getting three points at that stage of the match.

From that point on, neither team was interested in pushing hard for a winner and risk being exposed on the counter attack. The match ended 1-1, another disappointing match for Atleti, who now have their final match of the season against Athletic Club for the final ever La Liga match at the Vincente Calderón.