Atlético Madrid’s better-than-expected season came to a close Sunday evening as they played out an entertaining 2-2 draw against Eibar.
In his final match for Atlético, Fernando Torres took the armband and scored twice — the 128th and 129th goals of his rojiblanco tenure. The goals on either side of halftime were cancelled out by Kike García and Rubén Peña — the latter scored a wonder goal 20 minutes from time to secure the point, Eibar’s first in this fixture.
Atlético found space in the early going but couldn’t use it to their advantage. Torres had two decent chances roll just wide, while Saúl saw two long-range attempts miss the mark. Atleti played nicely at times, but José Luis Mendilibar’s Eibar side soon reorganized and gained control of the match with a 35th minute goal.
The Atlético defense failed to deal with a ball over the top, and a chest down by Joan Jordán drew out Stefan Savić. That created the space necessary for Jordán to slide the ball to ex-Murcia forward Kike, who slid his finish past a flat-footed Jan Oblak.
But Eibar’s lead would last only seven minutes — and who else but Torres would be the one to score the equalizer? The man who waved adiós to the Vicente Calderón with a brace last season brought his boyhood club level just before halftime, as Ángel Correa’s excellent ball allowed El Niño to laser in a right-footed shot and finish off a quick counterattack.
Possession — and dispossessions — were more balanced to start the second half, but Atlético gained an edge when Simeone threw on Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann before the hour. The former created Atleti’s — and Torres’ — second on the hour, as he controlled a Savić long ball and hit a sprinting Torres in stride. He made no mistake and leapt into the crowd (which earned him a yellow card, of course).
Now it was Eibar’s chance to respond, and following Lucas’ ejection for a second bookable offense, Rubén Peña did just that. The full back’s ferocious hit from outside the box left Oblak with no chance whatsoever.
Ten-man Atlético were pretty solid defensively otherwise, and neither team created much over the final 20 minutes. Griezmann had a long-distance shot saved by Marko Dmitrović very late on — it would have been a carbon copy of the goal he scored at Riazor last season, where Torres was concussed.
The draw brought to an end a successful season for Atlético. In addition to winning a major trophy in Lyon, Simeone guided his side to a sixth consecutive season of 20-plus league wins (23) and at least 75 points (79). Atleti kept the most clean sheets in LaLiga and had the Primera División’s best defense for the fifth time in Simeone’s six full seasons. Also, los colchoneros broke up the Real Madrid-Barcelona duopoly for the first time since 2013/14 by finishing second.
Atlético XI: Oblak; Juanfran, Savić, Lucas (red card 64’), Filipe Luís; Gabi, Saúl, Koke (Griezmann 58’), Vitolo (Giménez 66’); Correa (Costa 58’), Torres.
Goals: Torres 42’ 60’
Eibar XI: Dmitrović; Peña, Paulo, Lombán (Arbilla 66’), José Ángel; Escalante, Dani García; Alejo (Charles 78’), Jordán, Orellana; Kike (Regis 92’).
Goals: Kike 35’, Peña 70’