Atlético Madrid welcomed Diego Costa back on Saturday afternoon against Getafe and he figured he’d put on a display for those watching his Liga Santander re-debut. The big man scored and got sent off (!) in a 2-0 derby win.
Costa started up front, with fellow new signing Vitolo having to make do with a place on the bench. From the start, it was quite obvious that Simeone was playing variations of 4-4-2 with Costa and Ángel Correa up front and Antoine Griezmann on the right, switching to a 4-2-3-1 with Correa out wide and Griezmann as the number 10 at different times.
They looked as creative, energetic and dangerous as they have all season in the opening 45 with chances seemingly being made out of nothing. The Costa effect was kicking in. The Spain striker played on the last defender’s shoulder and caused problems with his movement, serving as a lubricant to loosen up Getafe’s backline and allow space for Griezmann, Correa and Yannick Carrasco to thrive.
It was the Argentine who gave Atlético the lead after 18 minutes when Griezmann poked a pass to him in the penalty area and saw him slide home with the outside of his right foot. The Atlético that had been promised, and that had been missing since 2013-14, was on its way back.
Simeone’s did revert back to a more defensive style as the half wore on but looked just as dangerous on the break with that ability to play in different settings, situations and styles — something you couldn’t say about Simeone’s side in the recent past.
The referee had a busy Reyes Magos day too with seven cards handed out in the opening half. A melee broke out near the end of the half that saw three yellows and a chance for Getafe that they wasted as the whistles sounded for the ref at the break.
If you walked into a Hollywood director’s office trying to sell the story of the second half, you’d be told to leave and come back with something slightly more believable. Costa was booked on 62 minutes as he elbowed Djene. He soon blazed over Atlético’s best chance of the half, and on 68 minutes, he sent the ball past Emiliano Martinez to double Atlético’s lead and seal the game...or so we thought.
As he ran to the south stand, the area where Atlético’s ultras gather, they celebrated with their more-than-welcome prodigal son. He was sent off for his second yellow and trudged off the field, thus ending the Costa show for today.
Luckily for Atlético, the rest of the game finished without incident and with everyone’s minds wandering to Costa. The man, the myth and the legend of the Vicente Calderon, in his first game at the Wanda Metropolitano, is already creating the headlines.