Atlético Madrid were held to a surprising 1-1 draw in Moscow on Tuesday night in the third round of the Champions League group stage. José Giménez opened the scoring with a first half header before an unlucky hand-ball from Hector Herrera gifted the home side a penalty. Anton Miranchuk dispatched the spot kick, and that’s how it ended despite Atlético’s best efforts to break that deadlock.
Luis Suárez returned to the side after being rested against Osasuna last weekend. Saúl Ñíguez also returned after missing a month of action due to injury. Diego Simeone picked an attacking XI with Marcos Llorente, João Félix and Angel Correa surrounding Suárez up front. Meanwhile, Kieran Trippier started again at right-back with the Englishman possibly needing a break. Renan Lodi replaced Mario Hermoso at left-back.
Atlético deserved the victory, and both manager and players believe they did everything they could to earn three points.
“We are frustrated,” Giménez said after the game. “We did everything to win the game. We created chances, got at them with clarity and we had the ball. They worked hard defensively and they tried to get at us on the counter. With a bit of luck, we would have won and it is a draw away from home.
“That’s how the Champions League is, every detail counts,” Giménez continued. “Now every game is a final and we have another to go and win.”
Club captain Koke was left on the bench to start the game, but appeared at half-time in an effort to break down Lokomotiv’s rearguard.
“It was a game of bad luck,” he said. “We can’t lament it, we have to keep going. We made a huge effort to get the three points. They closed up shop well and we had many chances, hitting the post and with goals ruled out.
“You have to keep going, we are doing great work, we are trying to improve. We are competing and the result will come.”
Simeone, who has been trying to evolve Atlético’s tactics, says this is the path to success for his side.
“The team played the game we wanted them to play,” he said. “Their keeper played really well, had some good saves. We sustained our attacks against a team that defends well and who counter-attacks in a direct fashion.
“We controlled the game. The pity is that we didn’t have the force in front of goal to reflect the game we played. But this is the way forward to win games.”
After three games, Atlético sit second in the group. They still have a full round of fixtures to play. They will play Lokomotiv Moscow at the Wanda Metropolitano in three weeks’ time before welcoming Bayern Munich to Madrid. They will face Red Bull Salzburg in Austria in their final fixture in December.