BHA XI: Ryan, Dunk, Duffy, Suttner, Bruno, Kayal, Stephens, Isaiah Brown, Murphy, Hemed, Pascal Groß
Atleti XI: Oblak, Savić, Giménez, Lucas Hernández, Juanfran, Koke, Gabi, Carrasco, Gaitán, Torres, Griezmann
In Atlético Madrid’s fourth preseason match, los rojiblancos faced the freshly promoted Brighton & Hove Albion in an exciting match at the Amex Stadium. The first half was largely without much incident, though the two sides were competitive, and Atlético won a second-half goalfest to continue their strong start to the preseason ever since the initial draw with Toluca.
One of the most important events of the first half involved Yannick Carrasco having a volley saved and then going down in the box, but he was not awarded a penalty. Toward the end of the first half, however, Nico Gaitán made his presence felt when he fired from around 30 yards at goal directly at Maty Ryan, who spilled it into the net for Atleti’s opener. It was a fiercely struck shot, but in a competitive match, it’s highly unlikely the shot would have gone in.
At halftime, Brighton boss Chris Hughton made three changes, notably bringing on Steve Sidwell, who would be important later on for Brighton. On 61 minutes, new Brighton signing Pascal Groß scored a free kick which took a deflection and left Jan Oblak with little chance. Just five minutes later, Atlético would regain the lead through a fantastic cross by Juanfran which found the head of Fernando Torres. On 76 minutes, Brighton again equalized, with Steve Sidwell scoring from a header.
Three minutes from time, Augusto Fernández found Koke, who picked out Antoine Griezmann, who had a lovely shot saved by Ryan, but the rebound bounced around in the box for Lucas Hernández to blast home. It was a typical full back finish by a player who has looked good in preseason. Lucas has a difficult season ahead, being both a back up left back and competing for a starting center back spot - not to mention the weight which will be on him, albeit unfairly, due to his brother’s decision, so this was an important moment for him.
In somewhat unusual fashion, Atlético dominated the ball in this match, ringing up nearly 64 percent possession and nearly doubling Brighton’s shot tally. It was another good performance from Atleti, who have looked strong ahead of what will be undoubtedly a difficult season.