Jan Oblak, GK: 8
Got down to make a stunning one-on-one save against Gelson Martins in the first half and made a critical stop of a Bryan Ruiz shot with Sporting Clube de Portugal on the verge of nabbing an away goal.
Juanfran, RB: 7
Didn’t exactly turn back the clock, but a solid 90 minutes from the veteran full back regardless. He handled his defensive duties well and could have scored a rare goal if not for a good save from a tight angle.
Stefan Savić, CB: 7.5
Calm, assured performance from the Montenegrin. Bas Dost is really the perfect striker for Savić to blanket and he did a good job on him, making several towering headed clearances when Sporting worked themselves into the game.
Diego Godín, CB: 7.5
Took a few more chances defensively than we’re used to seeing these days, but they all paid off. His long ball accuracy also helped spearhead Atlético Madrid’s transition play. Another very good display from the 31-year-old.
Lucas Hernández, LB: 7
Struggled early against Martins and Cristiano Piccini, but ended up shutting them down for a large portion of the game. Even made a couple Filipe Luís-esque runs up the left-hand side.
Gabi, CM: 7
Good choice for this kind of game. Atlético’s conscious decision to let Sporting have the ball necessitated a more physical, rugged presence in midfield, so in came the captain. The 34-year-old successfully toed the line between sloppy and sneaky fouling while also playing some nice passes and keeping things ticking.
Saúl Ñíguez, CM: 7
Started the match in an advanced position but retreated to more of a shielding role in front of the back four — Saúl took just 23 of his 61 touches in Sporting’s half. His work rate and versatility, as ever, were commendable, but you get the feeling Diego Simeone could have loosened the chains a bit.
Ángel Correa, RM: 4
Really didn’t add much to the attack, the latest in a string of less-than-stellar outings for the Argentine. Perhaps Simeone will think about starting Vitolo against Real Madrid on Sunday?
Koke, LM: 9
Dictated the tempo from the off by scoring on 22 seconds — he made a fantastic run to take up Costa’s pass and reward the forward’s hard work by slotting his second Europa League goal of the season. Koke roamed around midfield and hit a game-high five key passes in a highly influential performance.
Antoine Griezmann, FW: 9 (Mattress Maker of the Match)
Barely had a touch in the early going but soon made himself impossible to ignore. As Sporting boss Jorge Jesus predicted, Griezmann popped up all around midfield and the final third — his goal came after he pounced on a poor Jérémy Mathieu touch and glided through undisturbed. In the second half, the Frenchman could often be found pinging passes toward Costa or Kévin Gameiro and dropping deep to help Atlético keep the clean sheet.
Diego Costa, FW: 8
Stepped onto the pitch in full, frothing beast mode. Costa won the ball off Sebastián Coates and assisted Koke’s opener in the first minute. He spent most of Thursday harassing whoever had the task of marking him and latching onto long balls in a delicious throwback to 2013/14 Atlético. The Brazilian-born Spaniard should have scored himself but Rui Patricio snuffed him out mano a mano.
Kévin Gameiro, FW: 5.5
Entered for Correa in the 53rd minute. An aggressive, attacking change from Simeone. Gameiro found space and loomed dangerously but did not manage a shot.
Thomas Partey, CM: N/A
Entered for Costa in the 86th minute. Presumably saved for Sunday afternoon, brought on to strengthen a tiring midfield.
Vitolo, LM: N/A
Entered for Griezmann in the 89th minute. Like Thomas, did not manage a touch. Would have liked to see more than a cameo from him.
Mattress Maker of the Match:
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