Atlético Madrid grabbed a much-needed three points in a gritty 2-0 win over Getafe on Saturday.
Thomas Lemar was the unquestioned man of the match, as he strongly influenced one goal and actually scored the other. The winger’s performance continued Atlético’s incredible run in this mini-Madrid derby — since Diego Simeone arrived, Atleti have outscored Getafe 28-0 and won 12 of 14 overall.
Simeone made two changes from the side that emerged victorious at Stade Louis II on Tuesday. Diego Godín received his much-needed rest as Lucas Hernández shifted over to center back and Filipe Luís took up his familiar left back role. In addition, ex-Monaco star Lemar was chosen to start over Ángel Correa — who did not impress in the Principality in midweek.
And sure enough, it was Lemar who generated Atlético’s opener inside the first 15 minutes. Moments after Antoine Griezmann lofted a shot wide from around the halfway line, Lemar took up a ball from his French teammate, cut to his left and let fly from well outside the box. The shot went off the crossbar, but Soria’s lunge for left too much space between him and the goal line. The ball bounced off his backside and in to hand Atleti a 1-0 lead.
Simeone’s men did not threaten for the rest of the half and dared Getafe to break them down — which they could not do. Vitorino Antunes had a couple free kick chances and winger Francisco Portillo served as a good outlet on the right, but there really was no danger from the hosts, none that could not be dealt with capably by Lucas and José Giménez in central defense. Despite nearly 50 percent possession, Getafe managed just one shot on target in the first half.
The second half proceeded in much the same way early on, but Atlético received a jolt when Thomas Partey entered for Rodri. That substitution allowed Atleti to counterattack with more speed — as evidenced by the goal they scored three minutes later. A Lucas clearance started a quick counter and the ball ended up at Lemar’s feet. He passed to Griezmann before Koke slid the ball into the box — where Lemar appeared after he continued his run. He then lifted the ball off defender Bruno and poked home from close range to record his first goal in LaLiga.
After Oblak made a stupendous save on Ángel Rodriguez, substitute Ivi Alejo delivered an almighty stomp to Saúl’s leg and received his marching orders. There was some debate over whether there was sufficient intent from the former Atlético canterano, but Atleti would be up a man for the final 20-plus minutes.
José Bordalás shuffled the pack in search of a reaction, but Simeone responded in kind by eventually throwing on Godín. While this match could have been a chance for Nikola Kalinić or Gelson Martins to shake off some cobwebs, Cholo prioritized the clean sheet and got what he was after in the end. Atlético held on to the ball and salted away successfully the final 10 minutes.
The visitors kept just their second clean sheet of the season at the Alfonso Pérez, but this win allows Atleti to generate much-needed momentum. On Tuesday, the mattress makers return home to take on newly-promoted Huesca, and Real Madrid await next Saturday.
Getafe XI: Soria; Suárez, González, Cabrera, Antunes; Portillo, Arambarri, Djené (Cristóforo, 79’), Amath (Alejo 63’ — red card 68’); Molina (Guardiola 69’), Ángel.
Atlético XI: Oblak; Juanfran, Giménez, Lucas, Filipe Luís (Godín 71’); Lemar (Correa 79’), Rodri (Thomas 57’), Saúl, Koke; Griezmann, Costa.
Goals: Soria o.g. 14’, Lemar 60’