Diego Simeone’s men kicked off their final preseason match against Feyenoord at a packed De Kuip in sunny Rotterdam. The starting lineup was a 3-5-2, which started with Jan Oblak in net. Mario Hermoso, José Giménez, and Nehuén Pérez started at the back with captain Koke, Saúl, Thomas Lemar, Rodrigo De Paul, and Yannick Carrasco in midfield — Saúl and Carrasco played the wingback roles, supporting the defense and supplying forwards Marcos Llorente and Giuliano Simeone up front.
The match started with each side trading attacks. Feyenoord primarily focused on keeping the ball on the floor and creating space with quick passes, while Atlético Madrid utilized the creativity of players like De Paul to send the ball into open space. The Dutch side could be seen attacking down the right side of the pitch on multiple occasions, which would be a theme in the first half.
Feyenoord’s attack continued to keep the ball on the ground with short passing. After winning a corner on the right-hand side, the hosts utilized a set-piece to cross the ball short and then to the edge of the eighteen. An unmarked Marcos Senesi turned with his back to goal and found Bryan Linssen, who passed the ball into the back of the net to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Atlético’s best first half chance came in the 30th minute off a corner, where Giménez’s header bounced off the crossbar. At this point in the game, Atleti looked to be getting into more of a groove. Although Feyenoord had superior possession, they were stretched wide without the ball, creating space for a cross or a run up the middle.
Momentum was a pendulum swinging back and forth between the two sides before Carrasco was fouled in a race for the ball. Angry at what he thought was an intentional trip, the Belgian lost his cool and multiple players joined in the fracas that ensued.
By scuffle’s end — which included fans hurling their drinks onto the pitch — Carrasco was sent off after grabbing Orkun Kökçü’s throat. Simeone rushed off the bench in an effort to calm his player down, but to no avail — Atlético had been reduced to 10 men.
Simeone could be seen walking into halftime with what looked like a sour taste in his mouth. The team was losing and would have to come back with a man down.
Atlético’s defense looked more compact coming out of halftime. Feyenoord were denied access to the flanks and had to settle for some long-range efforts, some of which forced Oblak to make acrobatic saves.
It wasn’t until late in the match when Atlético were able to grab an equalizer.
The sequence started with a Sergio Camello breakaway opportunity that Correa set up, but goalkeeper Ofir Marciano turned it away.
Seconds later, Correa received a bouncing ball from Santi Arias and slid it into the bottom left corner.
Normal time looked like it would end with the score a one-all, but Feyenoord had one last counterattack after Camello lost the ball at the edge of the 18-yard box. An eager Ridgeciano Haps collected the ball out wide and sent a perfectly weighted pass to Naoufal Bannis, who iced the game and sent Atlético home with a loss.
After the match concluded, an enraged Simeone went over to scold the referees. Although it is only preseason, it is obvious that Cholo wanted a different result and that he is already in midseason form.
Next up is Atlético’s opening league match away against Celta Vigo on Aug. 15.